SB 205 Links Business Licenses with Stormwater Compliance

April 20, 2020

Senate Bill 205 was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 2, 2019 and became effective January 1, 2020.  SB 205 added sections 16000.3 and 16100.3 to the Business and Professions Code and section 13383.10 to the Water Code, which now require certain entities applying to a city or county for a new or renewed business license to demonstrate enrollment in the State’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) industrial storm water general permit.  Cities and counties must determine whether an applicant is required to enroll in the general permit, and if so, that enrollment has occurred, prior to issuing or renewing a business license.

The SB 205 compliance process begins with a determination of the applying entity’s Standard Industrial Classification (“SIC”) code. SIC codes have been assigned to everything from chemical plants, to grocery stores, to nightclubs. However, the scope of SB 205 is generally limited to businesses with facilities operating in the following spaces:

  • Manufacturing 
  • Oil/Gas/Mineral Extraction/Mining
  • Hazardous Waste Treatment/Storage/Disposal
  • Landfills and Waste Receiving Facilities
  • Recycling
  • Steam Power Plants
  • Transportation Facilities with Maintenance Shops
  • Sewage/Wastewater Treatment


If the applicant does not have a facility with an SIC code in the covered categories, SB 205’s requirements do not apply, and the city or county may issue the business license (assuming all other requirements have been met). However, if the applicant has one or more SIC codes within any of the categories, it must provide the city or county their facilities’ Waste Discharger Identification (WDID) number, No-Exposure Certification identification number, or Notice of Non-Applicability identification number before the business license can issue or be renewed. This process is meant to further SB 205’s goal to maximize compliance with the Clean Water Act and associated NPDES requirements.

If you have questions about whether your business might be covered by SB 205, or if you have experienced difficulties obtaining or renewing a business license because of SB 205’s requirements, we would be happy to discuss your situation and options with you. Inquiries can be directed to Jesse A. Boyd.

Jesse A. Boyd is a Shareholder in Ericksen Arbuthnot’s Oakland/East Bay office and co-chair of the Firm’s Environment, Water and Toxic Tort Practice Group.

Mr. Boyd can be reached at (510) 832-7770 ext.103 or