DES News: DES seeks feedback on the Purchasing Preference to Products that do not Contain Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) by December 8th, 2017

Purchasing Preference to Products that do not Contain Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)

The Department of Enterprise Services is seeking a second round of feedback through Dec. 8 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 state law.

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, when applicable.
  • 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.

Updated draft policy

The agency has been working to incorporate feedback that was received earlier this year into the initial draft policy.

In addition, one of the key elements in implementing the PCB Policy is to provide training.  Over the past several months, Enterprise Services has been working closely with the Washington State Department of Ecology to develop an informative training program.

 The primary updates to the previous draft policy are:

  • Specified a “certification” that bidders must complete to qualify for the PCB-free preference, and that Enterprise Services will provide a tool to agencies that will help vendors submit consistent information.  Ecology will assist agencies with evaluating the technical certification information (Ecology are the experts in this area).
  • Added wording to clarify that items considered not containing PCBs can have trace amounts of PCBs detected by tests, but not within quantifiable limits. As we are discovering, many goods and packaging contain PCBs but there is a limit to what the EPA Analytical Method 1668C will measure.
  • Allows bidders who have had their product(s) or products in packaging tested within the last 365 days to submit those results.
  • Added “Best Value Criteria” to incentivize bidders to work toward providing products and products in packaging that contain low or lowest amounts of PCBs. Through legal review, we determined that RCW 39.26.160(3) gives agencies the ability and option to develop and design procurements to meet this need. RCW 39.26.160(3) allows agencies to consider and work toward minimizing adverse impacts to human health and the environment or to weigh cost and non-cost considerations. Our training and training documents will outline how agencies can use this option to meet their needs.
  • Removed the section in the draft policy that defines PCBs, as the RCW already does that.
  • Removed the section in the draft policy that addresses existing contracts, as the RCW states that agencies will incorporate PCBs preference language into all new contracts.

How to send feedback

Please review the revised draft PCB Policy and provide feedback to Enterprise Services by Dec. 8, 2017. Feedback may be:

Submitted online

Or sent via email to

For more information, contact Christine Warnock, (360) 407-9398.