The California State Water Resources Control Board issued the Stormwater Industrial General Permit (IGP) in 2014 and began implementation of the new law in July, August, and October, of 2015. Regional Boards vary in their implementation of the permit.

Craft breweries have multiple environmental issues to contend with including managing hazardous chemicals (caustics, solvents, gases, refrigerants) and non-hazardous materials (raw and spent grains, yeast, etc.). Proper management of these materials is required by federal, state, and local laws. One such law is the Clean Water Act that requires the management of discharges to the sanitary sewer and to storm drains. Unfortunately, enforcement agencies that apply these laws do not always do so in a uniform manner and this creates confusion.

The State Board has made clear that a company’s primary industrial activity for each facility governs whether a site requires the IGP, however the San Diego Regional Board currently is still requiring all facilities with secondary uses to also comply.

The primary industrial activity can be thought of the industrial activity that produces the most revenue on site. So, if you have a brewpub or tap room and more revenue is generated from on-site sales and/or restaurant sales, you do not need to apply for the IGP. If you make more revenue from distribution of beers and other malt beverages and thus, off-site sales, you need to apply for the IGP.

The IGP has three pathways for compliance: 1) developing a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan and performing monthly inspections and sampling storm water a minimum of four times a year from all drainage discharge points leaving your facility, 2) developing a Site Map in compliance with the permit that demonstrates all industrial activities are in-doors and no outdoor activity exposes industrial materials to rainwater that can drain offsite, or 3) develop a detailed report supporting that no stormwater ever leaves your facility site. Development of the appropriate compliance pathway is important and can have severe implications for small businesses as the State Board can levy fines of $10,000 for not filing an application to comply with the IGP or $37,500 for each day of a non-compliance (such as a spill of a pollutant is documented to have drained from your site). Developing appropriate plans and standard operating procedures for your staff is important to reducing your overall cost burden associated with these regulations.

SCS Engineers works with many breweries to assist them with developing the best strategies and plans to remain compliant with the IGP and other environmental regulations. If you have any questions regarding the IGP or other environmental issues, please feel free to contact Cory Jones, PE, QSD, ENV SP, BJCP, Project Manager, at SCS Engineers, 619.884.0576 or