CV-SALTS – Managing Salt and Nitrate in the California Central Valley

For Permittees

Two Nitrate Compliance Pathways for Permittees to Choose

Once nitrate permittees receive a Notice to Comply with the Nitrate Control Program, they have a choice of two pathways for compliance. After receiving a Notice to Comply, permittees must choose a pathway and file a notice of intent.

Developing (Priority 2) Groundwater Subbasins

Developing (Priority2) groundwater subbasins are Yolo, Merced, Kern County (west side south), Tulare Lake, Kern County (Peso), Delta Mendota, Eastern San Joaquin, and Madera.

Notices to Comply will be sent to permittees in these areas in late 2023. Permittees in developing (Priority 2) should be preparing for future compliance with the Nitrate Program. You may receive a post card to verify your address in September 2023. The mapping for forming Priority 2 Management Zones will be shown below in section called “Find Your Management Zone.”

Pathway A: Individual Permitting Approach

A permittee or groups of permittees subject to a single order may opt to comply under the individual permit requirements.

Pathway A compliance options are difficult and expensive if there are drinking water wells near your facility that are high in nitrates, if your discharge is high in nitrates, or if local shallow groundwater exceeds 75% of the nitrate drinking water standard.

Pathway B: Local Management Zone

When a permittee chooses Pathway B and joins a Management Zone, they receive an exception from the nitrate standard and must work with Management Zone members to first assure safe drinking water.

Permittees opt to work collectively with other permittees through a Management Zone. A Management Zone serves as a discrete regulatory compliance unit for nitrate compliance. Permittees would ensure that those impacted by nitrate have safe drinking water within the zone while continuing to implement best practices and nitrogen management plans. In turn, permittees may be allowed greater flexibility and more time to achieve nitrogen balance and restore nitrate affected water bodies.

Pathway B offers many benefits and will be best choice for permittees that cannot meet the Pathway A approach.

  • Ensure safe drinking water to those who need it.

  • Avoid “going it alone” under demanding individual permit (Pathway A).

  • Establish local control and more flexibility than under past regulations.

  • Adapt management to local conditions.

  • Share resources, funding, and knowledge.

Frequently Asked Questions