Ecology News: Notice of Meetings on Washington’s Water Quality Assessment: January 19 and February 9, 2017

The Washington Department of Ecology continues to hold meetings to have public dialogue on key issues around how we develop Washington’s Water Quality Assessment.  These meetings are being held in-person and by webinar.  Please mark your calendar for the following meeting dates and register if you are interested in attending:

  • Register for the January 19 meeting in Renton to discuss Data Used in the Assessment and Bioassessment.
  • Register for the February 9 meeting (sites in Lacey and Spokane) to discuss human health criteria and the use of fish tissue.

For more information and details go to our website: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/303d/proposed/index.html.

Questions should be addressed to: Susan Braley, Watershed Management Section, Washington Department of Ecology
Phone: (360) 407-6414
email: susan.braley@ecy.wa.gov

 

UPDATE: WAC 173-350-995 Soil and Sediment Use Criteria

Update on the Soil and Sediment Use Criteria rule making.

WAC 173-350-995 Soil and Sediment Use Criteria

Previously proposed section 235 has been combined with new section 995 as Soil and Sediment Use Criteria. This new section addresses testing and terrestrial use of soil or sediment impacted by the release of one or more contaminants. The section sets contaminant limits for use in particular settings, and requires no permitting for conformance with the section. The section will not apply to soil or sediment within cleanup sites or thatare dangerous waste.

This topic was discussed by Marnie Solheim  at a previous Task Force meeting regarding the potential regulatory disconnect, given cleanup standards are not the same as water quality standards. Marnie presented at the September 2016 Task Force meeting. To see the summary of that discussion go to http://srrttf.org/?p=6988.

CSPA Reporting Rule Update

Please see the response (below) from Kara Steward of the Department of Ecology regarding the the Task Force request to consider PCBs in the CSPA reporting ruling.

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Happy holidays to everyone.
Please extend my thanks to the members of SRRTTF for the request for consideration of PCBs as an addition to the Chemicals of High Concern to Children during the Children’s Safe Products Act rulemaking update.  Ecology reviewed the information submitted.  At this time, PCBs are not being considered as an addition to the CHCC list.  The scope of the current rulemaking is too narrow to accommodate a rulemaking change to lower the 100 part per million reporting limit for chemicals present as contaminants.
The updated CSPA documents are on this webpage:
Let me know if you have additional questions or comments.
Kindest regards,
Kara
Hazardous Waste & Toxics Reduction Program
360-407-6250 direct | kara.steward@ecy.wa.gov.

Federal Register publication of the Washington Water Quality Standards MORE INFORMATION

The final rule was published in the Federal Register today, which means it will take effect on 12/28/16. All the information has been posted on EPA’s website here: https://www.epa.gov/wqs-tech/water-quality-standards-regulations-washington#fed

The docket is also now available (which is also available on the main link above) here: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EPA-HQ-OW-2015-0174. The docket includes the response to comments and economic analysis – direct links to these documents below.

Response to comments: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OW-2015-0174-0427

Econ analysis: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OW-2015-0174-0300

ECOLOGY NEWS: Policy 1-11 workshop, December 13th and 14th. Register Now!

Ecology will hold a two day workshop on Washington’s Water Quality Assessment and Policy 1-11.

Registration is now open for the two days workshop that will be held on Dec. 13 and 14 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm at Lacey Community Center.  You can participate in person or by webinar.

The portion that most Task Force members will want to participate in will be the December 14th (2nd day). Please go to the following link and fill out the survey information to register. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WQA_Meeting 

Public meetings on the Water Quality Assessment and Water Quality Policy 1-11 will be held next week onDec. 13 and 14 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Lacey Community Center.   If you plan to attend in-person or by Webinar, please register at:   https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WQA_Meeting.
 
Agendas for the two days are as follows:
 
Tuesday, December 13
9 a.m. – Noon                  Data used in the Assessment (representativeness, confidence levels, transparency)
Noon – 1 p.m.                  Lunch
1 – 3:30 p.m.                    Bioassessment
3:30 – 4 p.m.                    Wrap up and next steps for each topic
 
Wednesday, December 14
9 a.m. – Noon                  Toxics Data and use of fish tissue
Noon – 1 p.m.                  Lunch
1 – 2 p.m.                          TMDL Prioritization
2 – 3:30 p.m.                    Sediment Management Standards used for listing
3:30 – 4 p.m.                    Wrap up and next steps for each topic
 
We have posted on our website Issue Papers and related materials for the 5 key topics that will be the basis of discussion for the meetings.  If you plan to participate, we encourage you to read these prior to the meetings if possible.
 
Thank you for your interest in Washington’s water quality.
 
Susan Braley
Watershed Management Section
Phone: (360) 407-6414

Ecology UPDATE: Solid Waste Handling Rules

Where we are
At the end of June we released preliminary draft language and invited comments. We held a series of day-long workshops to walk stakeholders through major changes and answer questions. We asked stakeholders to submit comments on the preliminary draft by early September.  We received some very good feedback that highlighted stakeholder concerns, and identified areas where the draft language could be improved. Based on that input, Waste 2 Resources Program staff are working to revise the draft rule.
 
Next steps
 We feel it is important to give stakeholders time to review the new language, ask additional questions, and submit further comments if needed.  Ecology is postponing the formal rule proposal until 2017. We will issue a revised preliminary draft to stakeholders in November, and ask for comments by the end of January 2017. We plan to evaluate those comments by spring 2017, and file a formal rule proposal by early summer.
 Revised schedule
·        November – Revised preliminary draft rule released (mid to late month)
·        January 31, 2017 – Comments due on revised draft due
·        June 2017 – Formal proposed rule filed – formal comment period begins
·        July 2017 – Public hearings and formal comment period closes
·        Fall 2017 – Rule adopted
The Solid Waste Handling Standards are important for Washington state. The rule sets standards for a wide range of activities, and affects major environmental and economic decisions in our state. Because of this, Ecology has worked with stakeholders to understand the strengths and shortcomings of the current rule, evaluate different approaches to improve the rule, and assess the impact of potential changes. Our goal is to develop a rule that is clearly written, reflects the feedback of stakeholders, and sets standards that will serve our state for years to come.
 How you can remain informed
 It is very important to subscribe to our Solid Waste Handling Standards ListServ if you are interested in this rulemaking.  It is the main way that we communicate with stakeholders on this rulemaking.  You can easily subscribe with just a name and email address at http://listserv.wa.gov/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=ECY-SW-HANDLING-STANDARDS&A=1.  Please let others know if you think they might be interested.
 
Our rulemaking web pages are periodically updated.  See what is happening with the solid waste rule, starting at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/swfa/rules/wac173350/1308ov.html.
 
We thank you for your continued interest in this rulemaking and for your involvement as we work to improve the rule. 
  
Kyle Dorsey
Rules & Policy Coordinator
Waste 2 Resources Program
Washington State Department of Ecology
PO Box 47600
Olympia, WA  98504-7600
360-407-6559

News Releases from Region 10: EPA updates standards for toxic pollutants in Washington waters

NEWS Release from EPA :

Partnership with Washington will improve water quality and protect fish consumers, regulatory flexibility will help control costs

11/15/2016

Contact Information: 

Mark MacIntyre (macintyre.mark@epa.gov)

206-553-7302

(Seattle – November 15, 2016) Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced actions to update the limits for toxic pollutants in Washington’s surface waters, which will protect water quality and people who eat fish from those waters.

The Clean Water Act sets clear expectations for the nation’s water quality and calls for establishing health-based standards using the best available science to ensure that all people can safely fish and swim in U.S. waters.  Today’s actions set standards aimed at protecting those who eat salmon and other fish and shellfish from Washington waters.

Specifically, EPA approved 45 of the pollution standards the Washington Department of Ecology adopted earlier this year and finalized updates to 144 additional federal standards. For a complete list of the pollutants addressed in this action go to: https://www.epa.gov/wqs-tech/water-quality-standards-regulations-washington#fed

As part of today’s actions, EPA also approved Ecology’s revisions to its variance and compliance schedule provisions, which give the state and affected industries and municipalities needed flexibility and time to implement these new standards while making reasonable progress in improving water quality.

“Washington maintains one of the strongest water programs in the entire nation,” said EPA Regional Administrator Dennis McLerran. “Now, the state will have updated standards on the books and the needed flexibility to make progress meeting these more protective standards over time.”

Surveys of local residents in the Pacific Northwest, including tribes with treaty-protected rights, reflect that Washingtonians eat fish and shellfish at levels much higher than the rate that was previously used to set standards for toxics in Washington’s waters.  EPA and Ecology have been working to establish these new water quality standards based on a far more realistic estimate of the amount of fish Washingtonians eat.

“We applaud the Governor and Ecology’s decision to increase the fish consumption rate recognized in the standards and to retain the state’s protective one-in-a-million cancer risk level. The fish consumption rate and risk level in the standards match those established in Oregon and clearly recognize that greater protection of people who eat larger amounts of fish is appropriate in the Pacific Northwest where fishing is a part of our heritage,” McLerran said.

Most of Washington’s human health standards for toxics in surface water haven’t been updated since 1992. This new set of standards is based on the latest science about health protection and fish consumption rates.  Today’s actions ensure that water quality standards are now in place at levels that will adequately protect fish consumers in Washington, including tribes with treaty-protected rights, from exposure to toxic pollutants.

The region’s tribes helped both the EPA and the state better understand the particular health risks that tribal members have long faced due to their consumption of large amounts of fish. In establishing a fish consumption rate that better reflects the amount of fish people eat, the Ecology and EPA standards will help to lower health risks from eating fish for all Washingtonians, even those, such as tribal members, who regularly consume large amounts of fish and shellfish. EPA’s final rule incorporates Washington’s 175 grams per day fish consumption rate and a one-in-one million cancer risk level.

In practice, Ecology and EPA will continue to work together to determine the right level of regulatory flexibility and the feasibility of meeting the new standards when incorporating the new pollution limits into state permits and in other Clean Water Act programs. Flexibility in implementing these new standards will be important as pollutant detection and control technologies are developed.

EPA’s rule and Washington’s approved water quality standards will take effect 30 days after publication of the rule in the Federal Register. The rule was signed today (November 15) and is expected to be published in the Federal Register in one to two weeks.

# # #

For more information about EPA’s action on Washington’s water quality standards: https://www.epa.gov/wqs-tech/water-quality-standards-regulations-washington#fed

– Washington Rule_Water Quality Standards-part-131-2040-af56-final-rule
–  EPAs Partial-Approval Partial-disapproval_WA HH WQC Impl-tools_Bellon

Ecology Director Maia Bellon responds to EPA’s announcement on Washington’s water quality standards

Director Bellon’s statement:

 “We’re disappointed that Washington state’s approach wasn’t accepted in its entirety. We worked hard to craft new water quality standards that were balanced and made real progress – improving environmental protection and human health while helping businesses and local governments comply.

“We were always clear in our goal – to meet EPA’s requirements and tailor our proposal to work for Washington state. We believe we did that with the clean water standards we adopted in August.
 
“Reviewing the details of EPA’s decision is important to understand all the implications.
 
“It appears that EPA largely approved the implementation tools that we developed. These are pivotal to ensure that dischargers can stay in compliance while making real progress toward updated standards.
 
“Regardless of EPA’s decision today, we must stay focused on reducing toxic contaminants at their source rather than rely on expensive end-of-the-pipe treatment that has limited benefits.”
  
Helpful links
·       EPA news release (Nov. 15, 2016): EPA updates standards for toxic pollutants in Washington waters
·       Ecology news release (Aug. 1, 2016): State adopts new clean water rule

Ecology News: CSPA Reporting Rule Update

Interested Stakeholders,

Comment Letters Available

Ecology posted stakeholder comment letters on the public involvement page of the CSPA Rule website.  We are currently evaluating requests from stakeholders to add or delist CHCC chemicals. Our evaluation process is explained in a document posted above the comment letters.

We have completed our initial evaluation of stakeholder requests to add or delist CHCCs in the CSPA Reporting rule. Our initial evaluation is based on whether the comment included evidence, such as full scientific references and web links, that a chemical does or does not meet the same basic criteria used to create the list in the 2011 rule. We will further evaluate chemicals if that evidence is forthcoming.  We will continue this evaluation and provide more detail at the October 25thworkshop.

Upcoming Stakeholder Workshop

You can find details for the October 25th stakeholder workshop on the public involvement page of the CSPA Rule website. The meeting agenda, webinar information, presentation materials, and handouts will be added as links to this page before the meeting (with a listserv notice). Two documents are provided at this time for interested stakeholder review:

As we continue to plan for the October 25th meeting, it would be helpful to have an idea of the number of people attending in person.  This will help us with room selection and visitor parking limitations. Please send me an RSVP for those planning to attend the meeting here in Lacey WA. We will send out webinar information (via this listserv) before October 25th.

30-day Public Comment Period ends November 5th

Ecology will accept comments on the preliminary draft rule language and potential CHCC list changes until November 5, 2016.

We plan to share a second draft of the rule language and CHCC list changes in December (with another opportunity to comment).  We plan to hold a webinar in early January to go over the second draft of the rule and CHCC list.

Please call or email if you have questions.

Kind regards,

Kara J. Steward

Hazardous Waste & Toxics Reduction Program

360-407-6250 direct | kara.steward@ecy.wa.gov.