The proposed scwd2 Desalination Plant will require permits and a comprehensive environmental review should the plant be constructed.

The permitting and the environmental review process is open to both public and agency comment. scwd2  is committed to effective communication in the permitting process to share the scientific and engineering facts surrounding the project and the goals and objectives of each aspect of the project’s full scale plant design.  

Desalination plants are subject to extensive review.  The environmental review process will include detailed information about the effects that the proposed desalination plant is likely to have on the environment, and ways in which these environmental effects might be minimized.

Following is a list of federal, state and local agencies and their corresponding permit requirement(s) for the various components of the project.


Agency or Department

Permit or Approval

Required for


Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS)

Research Permit or Authorization; Education Permit; Authorization Permit

Review of other state and federal permits (including Army Corps permits, RWQCB 401, and NPDES permits) with activities/discharges into waters and wetlands.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

Endangered Species Act compliance (ESA Section 7 consultation)

Incidental take of federally listed species.

Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 U.S.C. 661-667e; the Act of March 10, 1934; ch. 55; 48 stat. 401)

Provide comments to prevent loss of and damage to wildlife resources.

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – Fisheries

Endangered Species Act compliance (ESA Section 7 consultation)

Incidental take of federally listed species.

Army Corps of Engineers (Corps)

Nationwide Permit No. 6, Survey Activities

Survey activities, such as core sampling, seismic exploratory operations, soil surveys, sampling, and historic resources surveys.

Nationwide Section 404 Permit (CWA, 33 USC 1341)

Discharge of dredge/fill into Waters of the United States, including wetlands.

Nationwide Permit No. 7, Outfall Structures and Associated Intake Structures

Activities related to the construction or modification of outfall structures and associated intake structures where the effluent is authorized by NPDES, Section 402 of the Clean Water Act.

Section 10, Rivers and Harbors Act Permit (33 U.S.C. 403)

Activities, including the placement of structures, affecting navigable waters.

U.S. Coast Guard

Federal Consultation

Coastal Commission Coastal Development Permit and ACOE Section 10 Permit.


State Water Resources Control Board, Regional Water Quality Control Board

General Construction Activity Storm Water Permit (WQO 99-08-DWQ)

Storm water discharges associated with construction activity.

401 Water Quality Certification (CWA Section 401)

Discharge into waters and wetlands (see USACE Section 404 Permit).

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit (CWA Section 402)

Discharge into waters and wetlands.

California State Lands Commission

Right-of-Way Permit (Land Use Lease) (California Public Resource Code Section 1900)

Lease Amendment

Issuance of a grant of right-of-way across state lands.

Modification of Wastewater Outfall lease.

California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG)

Incidental Take Permits (CESA Title 14, Section 783.2)

Activity where a State-listed candidate, threatened, or endangered species under California ESA may be present in the project area and a State agency is acting as lead agency for CEQA compliance.

California Coastal Commission (CCC)

Coastal Development Permit.  (Public Resources Code 30000 et seq.)

Development within the Coastal Zone, excluding areas where local jurisdictions have approved Local Coastal Plans in place.

California Department of Public Health (CDPH)

Permit to Operate a Public Water System (California Health and Safety Code Section 116525)

Operation of a public water system. (Amendment only.)

California State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO)

Section 106 Consultation, National Historic Preservation Act  (16 USC 470)

Consult with project applicant, appropriate land management agencies, and others regarding activities potentially affecting cultural resources.


Santa Cruz County Public Works Department

Encroachment Permit

Activities within County right-of-way.

Santa Cruz County

Environmental Health Services

Hazardous Materials Management Plan 

Delivery, storage, handling of hazardous materials in quantities equal to or greater than threshold quantities.

Santa Cruz County Planning Department

Use Permit

Activities whose use is conditional in a particular zone.

Coastal Development Permit / Exemption

Development within the Coastal Zone where County has jurisdiction through existing Local Coastal Plans.  If a Coastal Development Permit is issued for the entire project by the California Coastal Commission, a county permit is not required.

Grading Permit

Excavation and fill activities.

Electrical Permit

New electric meter.

Erosion Control Permit

Building, grading and land clearing.

Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District (MBUAPCD)

Authority To Construct

Constructing, modifying, or operating a facility or equipment that might emit pollutants from a stationary source.

Permit To Operate  (Local district rules)

Operating equipment that might emit pollutants from a stationary source.

City of Santa Cruz Planning & Community Development Department

Building Permit

Building code compliance and inspection.

City of Santa Cruz
Public Works Department

Encroachment Permit

Activities within City rights-of-way.

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