In response to a request from agricultural and trade associations, state water officials have given partial regulatory relief to wineries and breweries in areas hit by Northern California wildfires. The action involves required stormwater sampling, which may be affected by ash and debris resulting from the fires.
Wineries and breweries are among the California businesses required to have stormwater samples tested during certain weather events. Ash and debris left behind by the October fires could show up in the samples and skew the results.
Adam Kotin, manager of environmental regulatory affairs for the Wine Institute, said a Statewide Industrial Storm Water General Permit applies to a number of industrial facilities. This testing must be carried out whenever a "qualifying storm event" occurs—defined as rainfall that produces a discharge in at least one drainage area and is preceded by at least 48 hours of dry weather.