2015 Year in Review
The Task Force also held meetings of its various small work groups and its Administrative and Contracting Entity (ACE): Funding, ACE, Education and Outreach, Hydroseed, Vactor Waste, Data Management, Flow Gages, etc)
The Task Force holds a two-day Technical Workshop on January 13th and 14th that provided a forum for the open exchange of information on the results of the 2014 confidence and synoptic sampling events facilitated the establishment of “where do we go from here” for further understanding source contribution of PCB to the Spokane River as well as identified appropriate next steps for near term source reduction efforts. A full summary of the work shop is available here.
The Task Force finalizes project proposals for submission to the EPA Environmental Assessment Program for the 2015-2016 project funding cycle. Submissions included Wet and Dry Deposition of PCB, Statewide impact of PCB in hatchery fish used for stocking, Little Spokane River Fish Hatchery Case Study, Evaluation of High Volume Water Sampling Methods, and PCBs in Products, FY 2016 Sampling for PCB sources in sediment in Spokane River Reaches, and many others.
The Task Force continues to provide comments and feedback for MOA revisions to address the evolving needs of the Task Force.
The Task Force holds 4 meetings in February including 2 Memorandum of Agreement Work Group meetings, 1 Technical Track Work Group Meeting, and 1 full Task Force Meeting.
The Task Force continues to provide comments and feedback for MOA revisions and the work of the MOA Work Group to address the evolving needs of the Task Force.
Ecology Presentation: “Hatchery Permit Process”: Michael Hepp (Ecology) gave an overview of the permit process for Washington state hatcheries.
The Task Force receives received a letter from Dennis McClerran (EPA) in response to a letter sent 16 months ago from the Task Force to EPA about regulations pertaining to the inadvertent production of PCBs. The letter generated a significant amount of discussion at EPA, but there are many significant challenges to proposing reforms to the Toxics Substances Control Act. EPA requested a meeting with Task Force members to discuss these challenges.
LimnoTech Presentation: “Follow-Up to Mass Balance Assessment based on workshop feedback”.
The Task Force approves SRRTTF led Pilot Projects including Catch Basin Waste Facility Analysis and Mitigation Pilot Project, Hatchery Fish Meal Pilot Project, and the Upgrade of the Green Street Gage.
Ecology Presentation: “Measurable Progress: Process, Analysis, and Timeframes”. Ecology has defined Measurable Progress and will begin the process of assessing the work of the Task Force based on this definition.
The Task Force holds 4 meetings in March including 2 meetings of the Memorandum of Agreement Work Group, 1 meeting of the Technical Track Work Group, and 1 meeting of the full Task Force.
The Task Force continues to provide comments and feedback for MOA revisions and the work of the MOA Work Group to address the evolving needs of the Task Force. The MOA Work Group reports to the Task Force on issues encountered during the revision process. The Task Force agrees to send the revised MOA out for individual entity legal review.
The Task Force authorized ACE to enter into a contract with LimnoTech to move ahead with the next steps of work outlined in the Presentation “Proposed Scope and Costs for Next Phase of Work”.
The Task Force engages the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in the conversation about concerns over Fish Hatcheries and PCBs.
The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) coordinate on a response to a ruling in the CELP/Sierra Club court case.
The Task Force holds 2 meetings in April including 1 meeting of the Technical Track Work Group, and 1 meeting of the full Task Force.
The Task Force Data Management work group identified key data management needs and options for moving forward.
Darin Rice of Ecology attends the Task Force meeting to discuss the Washington State PCB/toxics Purchasing Policy RCW 39.26.280. The Department of Enterprise Services and Ecology continue to work on a process for identifying appropriate products, evaluating and weighting procurement options, product testing, and managing test results and disseminating that information to agencies.
Task Force members tour the Little Spokane Fish Hatchery on April 24, 2017 leading to a Task Force interim framing session to define the issues of PCBs and Fish and what the Task Force needs to know to move forward to source reductions and identifying Best Management Practices.
Task Force members provide feedback on a draft Quality Assurance Project Plan for Ecology’s Environmental Assessment Program on the project “Spokane River PCBs and other Toxics Long Term Monitoring at the Spokane Tribal Boundary”
May 2015: The Task Force holds 2 meetings in May including 1 meeting of the Technical Track Work Group, 1 meeting of the full Task Force.
The Task Force approves the expense of $2000 to establish a rating curve for the Green Street Gauge after it is installed.
Dave Dilks of LimnoTech presented on “High Level Scoping for Upcoming Monitoring” at the Task Force meeting.
The Task Force approved the Ruckelshaus Center Statement of Work for Year Four and renews their contract.
The Task Force works on a coordinated response for inclusion with EPAs response to the court.
Presentation by Marjorie MarzEmerson of P2 at the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center regarding the work they do and how they may connect with and/or assist the Task Force in reaching its goals.
June 2015: The Task Force holds 3 meetings in June including 1 meeting of the Technical Track Work Group, 1 meeting of the full Task Force, and 1 meeting of the Memorandum of Agreement Work Group..
The Task Force continued to provide comments and feedback for MOA revisions and the work of the MOA Work Group to address the evolving needs of the Task Force. The group also combined all MOA revisions into one document version 11.0 and decided to hold off on making any more edits until the Judge has responded to the EPA response to the court ruling.
The Task Force prioritizes potential Phase 3 projects and approved a Dry Weather Mass Balance Sampling Project.
The Task Force approves the “Coordinated Response to EPA Regarding the Remand from Judge Rothstein”.
July 2015: The Task Force holds 2 meetings in July including 1 meeting of the Technical Track Work Group, 1 meeting of the full Task Force.
The Task Force approves the “Spokane River Regional Toxics Task Force Phase 2 Technical Activities Report: Identification of Potential Unmonitored Dry Weather Sources of PCBs to the Spokane River” Final Report.
Task Force participates in a webinar presentation by Mark Vincent of The Color Pigment Manufacturers Association on “PCB’s and their Inadvertent
Presence in Pigments”.
The Task Force approves a basic money allocation for the ACE contract with Ecology.
August 2015: The Task Force holds 1 meeting of the Technical Track Work Group in August.
The Technical Track Work Group continues to tackle technical studies around conducting dry weather sampling in fall of 2015, groundwater PCB contributions study, Fish Hatchery studies, and the development of the Comprehensive Plan due to be completed at the end of 2016.
September 2015: The Task Force holds 3 meetings in September including 1 meeting of the Technical Track Work Group, and 2 meetings of the Task Force.
Steve Krueger (Dept. of Enterprise Services) presented the “Best Value Bid Weighting Calculator” which was developed to assist in implementing the WA State preferential purchasing RCW 39.26.280 which states “no agency may knowingly purchase products or products in packaging containing Polychlorinated Biphenyls above practical quantification limit except when it is not cost-effective or technically feasible to do so.” The Task Force provided feedback on the calculator.
The Task Force requested that LimnoTech develop a scope, budget, and timeline for completion of the Comprehensive Plan. LimnoTech presents the draft work plan for developing the Comprehensive Plan at the September 23, 2015 Task Force meeting.
The Task Force drafted some talking points in order to provide feedback on the Ecology draft Upland Fin-fish Hatching and Rearing General Permit. Ecology requested an extension on the comment period for the permit which was granted in order for the Task Force to provide a response letter. Mike Hepp provided a guide for commenting on the hatchery permit.
The Task Force provides comment on the 2015 Sampling Report and Gravity Field Reports.
Kootenai Environmental Alliance joins the Task Force as a full voting member and signs the Task Force Memorandum of Agreement.
The Task Force reviews, provides comment on, and approves the final reports of some of its small work groups including the PCB Characterization of Spokane Regional Vactor Waste Decant Facilities, and the Hydroseed Pilot Project.
Michael Friese (Ecology Toxic Studies Unit) presents the data and conclusions from the “Little Spokane River – PCB in Fish Tissue Verification Study”.
Marlene Feist (City of Spokane) presented the results of the “Spokane River Water Quality Survey” completed by Robinson Research on behalf of the Spokane River Forum.
October 2015: The Task Force holds 2 meetings in October, 1 meeting of the Technical Track Work Group (which was also a full Task Force meeting), and 1 meeting of the Task Force. The small work also met including the TSCA Work Group and and the Data Management Work Group.
The Task Force finalizes and approves a comment letter regarding the “Upland Fin-fish Hatching and Rearing General Permit” .
The Data Management Work Group puts together a draft PCB Database comparison for discussion.
The Technical Track Work Group worked with Michael Friese to fine tune the scope of work for an Environmental Assessment Program case study of the “Spokane Fish Hatchery”
The Task Force begins planning a Technical Workshop to be held in early 2016.
Brandee Era-Miller presented results of sediment sampling from August 2013. The data from this study has been QA/QC’d and entered into Ecology’s Environmental
Information Management (EIM) database under the title SRUW-Spokane. Will Hobbs (Ecology) gave a presentation on an Environmental Assessment Program (EAP) desk study of the Atmospheric Deposition of Toxics (to water bodies).
The Task Force drafted and approved a letter of support for the The Lands Council’s (TLC) Stormwater and LID Education and Outreach in the Spokane River Watershed Project Proposal under EPA Urban Waters Small Grants
Alex Stone presents the Draft State Product PCB testing results which looked at caulk,
pesticides and other lawn products, plastics, clothing, printed paper products, plastic containers, office products, paper labels and containers, pigments and dyes, and other miscellaneous products.
Dave Dilks presents an Interim Analysis of the 2015 Synoptic Survey Data. and Mike Hermanson presents the draft results from the Ecology/Spokane County Groundwater pcb sampling, and Rob Lindsay presents on the “Spokane River/ SVRP Aquifer Connections”.
The Task Force continued to plan its Technical Workshop to be held on February 9th-11th of 2016.
December 2015: The Task Force holds 2 meetings in December including 1 meeting of the Technical Track Work Group, and 1 meeting of the Task Force. The Administrative Contracting Entity, the Best Management Practices, and the Education and Outreach small work groups also met in December.
The Education and Outreach Work Group developed a poster display for the Spokane River Forum. The Task Force provided $900 in funding to the River Forum to assist with travel costs of Dr. Lisa Rodenburg.
The Task Force continued to plan the February 2016 technical workshop.
Dave Dilks presents on Technical Topics including a discussion of elevated lab blanks in some of the 2015 synoptic survey results and wet weather sampling.