Facilitating water quality improvement projects as restitution for violations under the Regional Water Quality Control Board’s enforcement process.
Supplemental Environmental Projects, or SEPs, allow a discharger to undertake an environmentally beneficial project as restitution for polluting water under the Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board)’s enforcement process. For example, an unauthorized sewage or chemical spill into the Bay or a creek could result in a Water Board enforcement action and monetary fines known as Administrative Civil Liabilities (ACLs) levied against the discharger. The discharger may elect to suspend part of the fine by undertaking one or more Supplemental Environmental Projects. SEPs must be related to the location or nature of the violation and should remediate or reduce the probable overall environmental or public health impacts or risks to which the violation contributed, or reduce the likelihood that similar violations will occur in the future.
In the last few years, a number of SEP projects have been private sewer lateral improvement grant/loan funds; SEPs typically go to water quality, restoration, or habitat improvement projects.
Habitats and Living Resources
Water Quality and Quantity
SFEP provides project oversight for active SEPs, to ensure that projects are completed according to agreements between the Water Board and dischargers. SFEP also assists in connecting projects to potential SEP opportunities.
A list of potential projects is available here.
If you’re considering any of these projects and would like further information, please contact Adrien Baudrimont (SFEP).
SEP opportunities arise when a violation or spill event occurs, the Water Board successfully pursues enforcement action, and the discharger elects to resolve the enforcement action through an SEP rather than simply paying an ACL liability, or fine. Because only a few SEPs may be approved in any given year, chances are low that any one project will be selected. In order to minimize the effort involved for project proponents, we ask for a simple concept proposal initially. If your project is selected by a discharger for consideration, you will be asked to develop a broader proposal including a detailed project description, budget, milestones, description of benefit, and performance measures. The full proposal must demonstrate consistency with the State Water Board SEP Policy.
SEPs are generally considered for projects exceeding $20,000. There is no upper limit; however, most funded projects fall in the $100,000-$250,000 range.