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On July 3, 2020, the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) released the draft General Waste Discharge Requirements for Winery Process Water (Winery Order). The proposed Winery Order will apply statewide to process water from wineries, grape juice storage facilities, and wine distillation facilities (collectively wineries). This includes any generated winery process water that is discharged to land for reuse or disposal. The Wine Institute estimates that this Winery Order will affect 5,682 facilities statewide (57% of all California wineries), which will be classified into four different regulatory tiers based on total volume of process water or designated as a de minimis facility. De minimis facilities are only required to register under the Winery Order if directed by the State or Regional Water Board. The remaining 43% of all wineries are not subject to the Winery Order because of operations not resulting in land discharges.

The Winery Order includes sampling and monitoring requirements for source water, winery effluent, ponds, land application areas, subsurface disposal systems, solids, and groundwater. All Wineries are required to submit Compliance Letters and Annual Reports and some facilities will be required to submit Quarterly and Semi-annual Reports. In addition to sampling, there are specific BOD, TSS, and nitrogen limits for process water discharge.

Facilities that fall under any of the four regulatory tiers will be required to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI), technical report, and application fee within 3 years of adoption of the Winery Order. De minimis facilities are required to submit an abbreviated NOI and application fees. Wineries with existing WDRs may operate until they expire or are due for renewal, then they will be enrolled under the Winery Order unless otherwise determined by the Water Board.

The Board adoption hearing for the proposed Winery Order is scheduled for November 17, 2020. More information can be found on the State Water Board's Winery Order website here.