This editorial letter originally appeared in iWWD Spring issue as "Regulation Rollback"
On President Joe Biden’s first day in office, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain issued a memo calling for a regulatory freeze. This call affected any regulation that had not yet been published in the Federal Register. It also affected any regulation that had been published in the Federal Register, but had not yet taken effect.
President Biden’s team has placed environmental justice high on its list of priorities, and as such, we expect this means more regulations and rollbacks of deregulations that President Donald J. Trump had initiated. According to several news sources, Biden called for federal agencies to review 100 policies for rollback, which includes those for fuel efficient cars, air quality, and of course, water and wastewater. As we learn about these, we will share them on our website.
Meanwhile, states continue to create and engage their own regulations, and one of the most notable ones recently was that of wastewater treatment and discharge for wineries in California. This framework, which has taken five years to create, was approved in January by the California Water Resources Control Board. The implication here is vast for the winery industry in the state as it sets wastewater processing standards for more than 1,500 wineries.
Key provisions of the regulation limit disposal through land and surface applications, increase monitoring of both the treatment process as well as groundwater. It also breaks the winery industry into tiers, so those making less than 10,000 gallons of wine per year would be unaffected. Those in the other tiers would be required to meet permit requirements within three years and meet the rules of the regulation within five years.
Of course, with any regulation like this, there is nuance in the legal language. I encourage those of you in California to seek out the full text to gain a deeper understanding of the permitting and regulatory requirements. And for those outside California, it may be worth taking a look as states often look to their neighbors when determining how to formulate and write their upcoming regulations.