Water board considers waste water permit for pot growers

Water board considers waste water permit for pot growers

REDDING, Calif. - The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board is considering new rules on cannabis growers.

If adopted by the board, growers would have to apply for a special permit to make sure they are protecting nearby water ways from potential toxins and contaminants.

Assistant Executive Officer for the board, Clint Snyder, said the permit would accommodate growers of all scales, from six plants to hundreds.

"The permit is structured such that any person cultivating marijuana so long as they're complying with this permit would have a de minimis (minor) impact on waters of the state, so that includes both surface water and ground water," stated Snyder.

Each grow would be broken into a tier depending on its size, distance from a wetland and slope of the terrain.

Each tier would then include specific guidelines to follow, like proper soil stock piles, grading activities and water crossings.

"Making those cultivators aware of those requirements and then providing them some of those design characteristics, best management practices ... so what we're really asking them to do is construct that road in such a way that they do not have an impact on that water course," said Snyder.

Public comment on the proposed permit ends Sept. 7, but written responses will be accepted by 5 p.m. on the Sept. 8.

"Comments vary to why are we developing a permit specific to the marijuana cultivation industry, why aren't the marijuana cultivators ruled into our irrigated lands regulatory program," Snyder stated. "We receive comments from the other end as well there are a lot of interested parties."

The draft is very similar to the proposal adopted by the North Coast region last month.

The Central Valley board will consider the permit during a meeting either Oct. 1 or 2.  That will also be open to the public for additional comments.

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