On December 9, 2016, Congress passed the Columbia River Basin Restoration Act as part of the Water Resources Development Act, now known as the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act of 2016. The new Section 123 of the Clean Water Act authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency to establish a voluntary, competitive grant program for projects in the Columbia River Basin for “environmental protection and restoration programs throughout the Basin.” The Act also requires OMB to establish a cross-cut budget. The Act does not provide an appropriation at this time.
As of 12/15/2016, the WIIN Act of 2016 has not yet been signed by the President.
This Legislation is a result of the great work and collaboration of the Columbia River Toxics Reduction Working Group over the years to develop a basin wide toxics reduction and assessment work effort building off successful toxic reduction work efforts accomplished to date including: monitoring water quality, agricultural practices to reduce toxics, green infrastructure, certification programs such as Salmon Safe, increasing green chemistry, public education, pharmaceutical collections, legacy pesticide collections, and clean-up of contaminated sites. The Act calls for the formal creation of a Columbia River Restoration Working Group, there is a formal process identified in the Act that would need to be developed and implemented.
First introduced in 2010, this Act is the first legislation to officially designate the national importance of Columbia River Basin restoration. We hope to have a Working Group meeting in early 2017 to celebrate this great success.
The Lake Spokane Association Annual Meeting is scheduled for March 22, 2017 at 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Lakeside Middle School. The Lake Spokane Association invites its members and prospective members interested in preserving and protecting our lake to enjoy a special feature presentation by Spokane’s own WDFW manager, Chris Donley.
Per the discussion at the March 1, 2017 TTWG meeting, here is a list of references regarding PCBs and sediments in the Spokane River. The newer studies contain a reference to where the data can be found on the EIM on the “Publication and Contact Information” at the beginning of the document.
There is an additional dataset of 8 Urban Waters samples that were collected in 2013 (sediment and seeps) which is in the final stages of upload to EIM. I will send the link to download that data when it is ready.
Here is an eclectic mix of all reports that I could find on the publications database on this topic. Some of these reports are quite old and the conditions that they were measuring may have changed (mostly due to clean ups and elimination of the major PCB sources).
We are scheduling one more meeting to discuss human health criteria and the use of fish tissue in the Assessment. In preparation for this meeting, Ecology is preparing different options for consideration and discussion, therefore we have decided to push the next meeting date out farther into March. If you are interested in participating in this meeting, please put a hold on your calendar for Thursday, March 30, 2017. We do not have final details on the site location or times, but we are working on a meeting room in the SeaTac area, and will also secure a conference room in Spokane for those that want to meet in one place on the east side. Similar to the other meetings, this will also be run as a webinar for those who are not able to join in person at one of the two locations.
As a reminder from the February 9th meeting, if anyone wants to submit written comments on the bioassessment alternatives that Ecology presented at the January 19th meeting, please email them to me by February 23, 2017 (or contact me if you intend to submit written comments but cannot make that deadline). Any written comments received on bioassessment or any of the other key topics will be posted on our website and considered as we move forward with revisions to Policy 1-11.
The Draft “Quality Assurance Project Plan for Urban Waters Investigation of PCBs in Soils and Stormwater Associated with Demolition Activities” is now available for review.
The objective of this study is to evaluate the potential for PCBs in building materials to impact soil and stormwater. This project involves testing soil samples prior to and following demolition activities of target properties to identify the effectiveness of current demolition practices. Stormwater will also be tested from a selected number of stormwater conveyances in the located in the study area and compared with results from previous Urban Waters studies for the purposes of trend evaluation.
The results of this study will help inform development of Best Management Practices for managing PCBs in building materials, which is Control Action 5.13 in the 2016 Comprehensive Plan to Reduce Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in the Spokane River.
This study is being conducted by Ecology’s Urban Waters program. Because of a tight weather window and staff schedules we will be unable to make major changes to the scope of the project.
Please provide comments or questions to Adriane Borgias via email at ABOR461@ecy.wa.gov before February 28th, 2017.