Monday, August 21, 2017

Washington Dept. of Ecology releases draft clean water rule maintaining more state control than EPA’s version

The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) recently released a draft clean water rule in compliance with the federal Clean Water Act and an October 2015 directive from the governor.

The rule creates standards for Washington’s water bodies and for the state’s businesses and municipalities that discharge wastewater. It aims to protect public and environmental health by reducing and controlling the toxins that flow into the waterways. Ecology prepared its rule concurrently with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has developed its version for implementation if the state rule is not finalized.

The EPA rule, which was released in September 2015, and the newly released state rule differ in some key aspects, though both rules base their standards on a daily average fish consumption rate of 175 grams and a one-in-1-million cancer risk rate. The EPA’s rule sets stricter limits for PCBs, arsenic and methyl mercury, and does not contain implementation tools provided in Ecology’s rule that would help the state’s wastewater dischargers come into compliance.

Ecology is accepting public comments on it’s draft rule until April 22, and will host public meetings in Seattle, on April 5, and in Spokane, on April 6, as well as a webinar on April 7.

Organizations in this story

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC - 20460

Washington Department of Ecology 300 Desmond Drive SE Lacey, WA - 98503

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