Point Source Pollution

NEED UPDATE with recent Water Quality Board notices to Mt. Shasta & Dunsmuir re storm water runoff

As authorized by the Clean Water Act (CWA), the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit Program controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States. 

There are 3 facilities with NPDES permits on the Upper Sacramento River, and none on the McCloud. 

  • Dunsmuir Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP)
  • Mt. Shasta WWTP
  • Mt. Shasta Fish Hatchery
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Dunsmuir’s permit was renewed in 2012 and is in compliance. 

  • Dunsmuir’s WWTP is at the south end of town, on the east side of the Upper Sacramento River, and includes several percolation ponds.
  • In the summer, Dunsmuir does not discharge to the river; all treated waste goes to percolation ponds. 
  • More stringent discharge limits are in place during spring and fall when flows are lower and human use is higher.
  • Permit includes mixing zones for 5 compounds: ammonia, nitrate, copper, zinc, and dichlorobromomethane (a byproduct of the treatment process). Size of the mixing zone varies from 20’ to 50’ depending on which “beneficial uses” may be impacted, human uses or aquatic species.
  • Dunsmuir is in the process of making several upgrades to its treatment facilities to ensure that it remains in compliance with its permit.
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Mount Shasta’s permit was also renewed in 2012; however, the permit includes Compliance Schedules for several compounds for which the city was unable to meet standards. 

  • Mt. Shasta’s WWTP is located adjacent to the Mt. Shasta Resort on the north side of the Upper Sacramento River. Their discharge point is just below Box Canyon Dam.
  • Mt. Shasta may also discharge to a leachfield, and delivers treated effluent to the Mt. Shasta resort for use as recycled water on the golf course. Whenever possible, discharge is first to the golf course, then to the leachfield, lastly to the river.
  • Discharge limits are based on protection of “beneficial uses” including: municipal and agricultural water supply, water-contact recreation, cold freshwater habitat, and wildlife habitat.
  • Because of seasonal low flows out of Box Canyon Dam and limitations of its existing facilities, Mt. Shasta is currently not able to comply at certain times of year with new more stringent discharge limits for several parameters including: coliform, biochemical oxygen demand, total suspended solids, pH, copper, zinc, and ammonia.
  • Mt. Shasta is in need of upgrades costing several million dollars to increase its winter filtering capacity in order to come into compliance within 5 years.