The Department of Enterprise Services (DES) is seeking your review and feedback on a draft policy on applying purchasing preference to products that do not contain Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs). Please review and provide feedback on whether the attached (below) provide clear direction, and whether there are any flaws in the drafts that may interfere with the intent of the policy. Please understand that this process is not how we are proposing to engage our stakeholders for our new policy process (to be unveiled within the next month), which is to engage stakeholder input prior to policy drafting. However, the driving force of this policy was turned on its head, so the process is a bit abnormal, but we sincerely want to hear your thoughts. We are asking for feedback by May 30th directly to Christine Warnock with DES.
We will also be sending similar communications to all customers (through other distribution lists and a general broadcast) and to master contract vendors. These will be sent by Monday, May 22nd. So, I will apologize in advance if you are receiving duplicate communications.
Thank you for your help!
Christine Warnock, CPPO, CPPB
Strategic Business Initiatives Manager
Washington State Department of Enterprise Services (DES)
Contracts, Procurement & Risk Management Division
DES seeks feedback on draft Applying Purchasing Preference to Products That Do Not Contain PCBs Policy
The Department of Enterprise Services is seeking feedback through May 30 on a draft policy that establishes a purchasing preference to incentivize bidders for state contracts to provide products and products in packaging that do not contain, or contain the lowest possible level, of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Enterprise Services is responsible for establishing such a policy under a 2014 state law.
Enterprise Services is seeking feedback on whether the following provide clear direction, and whether there are any flaws in the drafts that may interfere with the intent of the policy:
- Draft policy
- Draft procurement request and solicitation language designed to support the policy
The draft policy is designed to:
- Set a minimum preference of 5 percent or greater for products and products in packaging that do not contain – or contain the lowest levels of – PCBs.
- Require agencies to complete PCB procurement and purchasing training
- Require including a PCB preference when contracts are rebid
- Require agencies to document compliance with RCW 39.26.280
- Ensure termination of existing contracts or stock is NOT required
- Make good common sense in the marketplace.
Please provide your feedback by May 30 to Christine Warnock, (360) 407-9398.
Green contracting matters
Choosing products and packaging that have fewer or no PCBs is an important part of a larger statewide, green contracting effort to reduce use of toxic chemicals by Washington state agencies and find alternative products that are safer for human health and the environment. Small quantities of toxic chemicals contained in ordinary household products – including PCBs – are collectively the largest toxic threat we face today.
Vendors and state purchasers alike live, work and raise families in our state. As we use and discard products, the chemicals within them escape into the environment, where they “bioaccumulate” or build up through the food chain until they pose a threat to human health and the environment. PCBs don’t easily break down over time, build up in the food chain, and are toxic at even low levels.
In certain sections, many rivers in Washington have fish advisories due to PCB contamination; this means the Washington Department of Health has concluded that frequently eating fish from these waters poses a human health risk.
Enterprise Services recognizes that purchasing decision factors related to PCBs in products and packaging vary from product to product and are best determined by the purchaser. The draft policy is designed to address multiple types of products that have differing practical quantification limits (PQLs) for PCBs. The PQL is the lowest level that can be reliably detected when a product is tested, and it is not the same for every product.
As it worked to draft the policy, Enterprise Services established productive partnerships with the departments of Ecology and Transportation, Correctional Industries and the City of Spokane to share lessons learned and to create best practices for proactively minimizing PCBs. Enterprise Services also has worked with legislators, agency partners, industry representatives and other stakeholders, including members of the Spokane River Regional Toxics Task Force.
2014: State law adopted
2015-2016: Ecology performs product testing
Nov. 17, 2016: Ecology releases report on the presence PCBs in 201 common products and packaging.
About half (100) of the products Ecology tested were purchased by state agencies. See the Ecology Product Testing for PCB focus sheet.
December, 2016 to May 2017: Policy development. Enterprise Services considered issues such as:
- Alternatives assessments.
- Criteria and standards that will be most effective in an overarching policy that needs to address multiple types of products that all have differing manufacturing methods and differing practical quantification limits for PCBs.
- Ensuring the policy makes good common sense in the marketplace.
May 2017: Enterprise Services finalizes draft policy, seeks feedback.