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San Diego Could Get New Pollution Rules For Storm Water

— Regional water quality monitors are in the process of setting up rules that would set limits on how much pollution can end up in the region's storm drains.

Photo by aventard

An aerial view of the San Diego River.

The storm water permit was supposed to be decided last month, but the issue drew so much public comment, two days wasn't enough for developers, municipal officials and environmentalists. The issue is not new.

"Its been about two years. We've been doing a lot of stakeholder outreach, meetings, workshops, to get their input on this storm-water permit," said Chris Witte of the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Opponents of the tough new guidelines worry that they will cost too much money to implement. Environmentalists worry the final rules will give cities a way to get around them if they have trouble complying, but they remain optimistic that the measure will help keep local waterways free of serious pollution.

"I would hope that we have a strong watershed-focused permit that does not have a safe harbor, and has reasonable development requirements that satisfy the cities, environmental community and development community," said Jill Witkowski, San Diego Coastkeeper.

State water quality officials are widely expected to adopt new local rules on Wednesday. State officials will likely use those rules to help craft uniform storm water pollution guidelines for California.

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