SCCWRP was formed in 1969, about the time that California’s Porter-Cologne Act was passed, to prepare an integrative report about the effects of wastewater and other discharges on the Southern California coastal marine environment. Originally intended as a three-year project, the summary report identified so many gaps in knowledge that SCCWRP was reauthorized as a neutral scientific agency to conduct the research necessary to fill those gaps. SCCWRP has evolved through the years to become a recognized leader in environmental research, providing innovative direction in the marine sciences, developing new environmental monitoring methods, defining the mechanisms by which biota are potentially affected by pollutants, and fostering communication among scientists, methods developers and water quality managers.

SCCWRP was created as a joint powers authority, which is an agency formed when multiple government agencies have a common mission that can be better achieved by pooling resources and knowledge.  SCCWRP's original member agencies included the five largest southern California metropolitan sanitation agencies. With the success of SCCWRP and the recognition of a need to enhance the dialog about its research findings, the additional member agencies were invited to participate and have grown to include the largest stormwater management agencies in southern California (added in 2003) and the regulatory agencies (added in 1989) that oversee sanitation and stormwater agencies. The most recent addition was the California Ocean Protection Council (added in 2007), intended to enhance interactions with the California Resources Agency. This unique partnership among member agencies facilitates consensus about how science can be used to better protect the southern California coastal environment.

Written History

A detailed written history of SCCWRP from 1969 to 2000 is available in SCCWRP's 1999-2000 Annual Report.

SCCWRP History Poster

SCCWRP History Slideshow (download pdf)