California to impose statewide rules for winery wastewater

The PG&E shutoff caused production issues for North Bay wineries.

California will impose statewide guidelines for how wineries dispose of wastewater, ditching a long-held regional approach.

The new order was finalized this week by the State Water Resources Control Board.

It will bring about half of the state's 3,600 bonded wineries into a uniform regulatory framework for the first time.

The rules are meant to safeguard waterways and groundwater from harmful contaminants, including excess nitrogen, salinity and other compounds that deplete oxygen levels.

Industry leaders backed the move even though it could increase compliance costs for some winemakers.

The order ramps up reporting requirements and caps the amount of processed water wineries can dispose of through land application and subsurface disposal. It specifies requirements for water treatment systems and ponds, and requires extensive groundwater monitoring for the state’s largest wineries.