Helping California wineries protect their business and the environment

May 19, 2022

Terracon's winery services

For years, the California State Water Resources Control Board (Board) tailored wastewater permits to individual wineries. To standardize the process, in January 2021 the Board adopted the statewide Winery Order for General Waste Discharge Requirements (WDRs).

The order has created a new California wineries tier system based on the amount of water wineries discharge annually. The new order impacts wineries discharging more than 10,000 gallons of process water per year (gpy). Wineries discharging less than 10,000 gpy are exempt from the order, as long as they do not discharge waste to surface waters or surface water drainage courses, to land not owned, operated, or contracted by the discharger, that is classified as “hazardous” or “designated”, or that is untreated or partially treated from the treatment system.

Tier Facility process water flow (gal/year)
Exempt <10,000
Tier 1 10,000 – 30,000
Tier 2 30,001 – 300,000
Tier 3 300,001 – 1,000,000
Tier 4 1,000,001 – 15,000,000


The new order requires wineries with current WDRs to enroll over time. Wineries without WDRs have until January 20, 2024, to enroll and five years to become compliant with the new order. New wineries must enroll 180 days before opening.

Terracon is here to help

Wineries that are not exempt from the order need to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to comply with the new order and complete a technical report of waste discharge to its regional water board.

Depending on a winery’s tier, the technical report may require detailed information about:

  • Facility permits
  • Use and maps
  • Process water ponds
  • Winery effluent flow
  • Land application area
  • Water quality
  • Solids management
  • Facility improvements

Submitting the NOI and technical report starts the regional water board’s review process.

While 2024 may seem a long time from now, some wineries should start the evaluation process now. Starting the process early will let the winery know what they may need to do to come into compliance with the new order by the 2024 deadline. Depending on tier and status, some wineries may need to complete facility upgrades, or purchase new equipment. Getting started now will allow operations time to plan, schedule, and finance such improvements.

Terracon is the winery industry’s trusted and experienced environmental partner. We can help wineries understand how their water source, processes, and chemical usage impact their discharge water quality, as well as work with operations to proactively identify cost-effective compliance options ahead of regulation compliance deadlines.

We also can help optimize water and chemical usage, which can minimize or eliminate the need for future expensive water treatment.

Terracon has 10 offices in California. Our local knowledge, backed by the experience of our regulatory compliance professionals gives us the resources to help wineries meet this new challenge. Our team of over 65 environmental professionals located throughout California will partner with wineries to accomplish the following milestones:

Evaluate Board tier level and how your winery can comply with the new Winery Order;

  • Prepare NOIs and technical reports;
  • Advise on how to potentially receive permit fee discounts;
  • Design and implement a plan for compliance;
  • File and track paperwork; and,
  • Set up a monitoring and reporting program to help you stay in compliance.

For additional information or specific inquiries, please contact Hilary Kane or Scott Gable in our Sacramento office, or click here to learn more about our winery services.

Hilary Kane

Hilary Kane is an environmental scientist located in our Sacramento office. She has managed environmental assessments and compliance projects throughout California, and has experience working with and in the winery industry.



Scott GableScott Gable, P.G., is a regional environmental specialist in our Sacramento office. Scott understands California’s regulatory requirements and specializes in navigating complex environmental compliance projects. Scott has more than 20 years of experience with the Board and NPDES General Permit requirements for food producers and processors.

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