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.

Policy 1-11 revisions process: public workshop on November 14th

States are required, under the Clean Water Act, to regularly assess their waters to meet sections 303(d) and 305(b) of the Clean Water Act.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved Ecology’s September 2015 submittal of our latest Water Quality Assessment on July 22, 2016. 
 Ecology started the next water quality assessment process this last winter with:
 
  1. A call for water quality data and information collected through December 2015 that will be used for the next assessment of fresh and marine waters in Washington.
  1. A 60-day scoping process to solicit ideas on areas of the Water Quality Program Policy 1-11,Assessment of Water Quality for the Clean Water Act Sections 303(d) and 305(b) Integrated Report,  that need to be reviewed and updated.  This Policy guides how Ecology uses data to determine the water quality status for individual waterbodies.
With EPA’s recent approval of Washington’s Water Quality Assessment, Ecology will begin a public process to revise Policy 1-11 based on the comments we received during the scoping process.
 
To launch the Policy 1-11 revisions process, we will hold a public workshop on November 14th  to orient people to the Water Quality Assessment Policy and to the key issues we will be looking at and possibly revising based on the outcome of further discussions and analysis.  The Policy 1-11 Public Workshop will be held from 10:00am – 4:00pm at the auditorium of the Ecology Headquarters building in Lacey.  We will also conduct the workshop as a webinar so that people who choose not to attend in person at the Ecology building in Lacey can participate by calling in from their respective location.  This will be an introduction/kick-off meeting to provide background information on the Assessment and how Policy 1-11 is used. It will also lay out the process we will use to look at possible changes to that policy based on scoping comments that were received.  If you are interested in participating, please save the date on your calendar. 
Agenda and more information on the November 14 Public Workshop & webinar will be coming soon.
Background information on the Policy 1-11 revisions public process, including a summary of the scoping comments that were received and copies of the comment letters, can be found on Ecology’s website at: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/303d/proposed/index.html.
Questions or comments about the assessment or Policy 1-11 should be directed to Patrick Lizon (email:  patrick.lizon@ecy.wa.gov; phone: 360-407-6782).
 
Thank you for your interest in protecting water quality in Washington State.
 
Susan Braley
Watershed Management Section
Phone: (360) 407-6414

Rulemaking: Children’s Safe Products Act- Reporting Rule and Mercury-Containing Lights Product Stewardship Program

The following Rulemaking process/proposals may be of interest to the Task Force:
  • Rulemaking Proposal Notice for Children’s Safe Products Act- Reporting Rule. The focus of the rule is on children’s products, of which those that could impact stormwater or wastewater and could be of interest to the Task Force.Chapter 173-334 WAC, Children’s Safe Products Act- Reporting Rule http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/hwtr/laws_rules/CSP_ReportingRule/1608ov.html
  • Rulemaking Notice- Mercury-Containing Lights Product Stewardship Program. The latest information for Washington State as it relates to mercury-containing lamps.

    Chapter 173-910 WAC- Mercury-Containing Lights Product Stewardship Program
    For more information: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/swfa/rules/wac173910/1504time.html

Rule-making Information for WAC 173-350 – Solid Waste Handling Standards

Ecology has received inquiries about the possibility of extending the comment period on the draft rule beyond September 6th.  It is necessary to move forward now so that the rest of the rulemaking pieces can fall into place.  It is important to remember that the draft rule released to stakeholders at the end of June was not a formal rule proposal.  The workshops held in July were intended to give stakeholders an understanding of the changes we are considering, and to generate discussion based on the draft rule.

We received some really good feedback during the workshops.  We are hoping that stakeholders will follow through with constructive comments.   There will be another opportunity for review and comments when an actual proposed rule is released.   That is a more formal process that will include hearings and the opportunity to testify, if desired.  We will do our best to consider all comments on the draft rule, including those that arrive after September 6.  Based on stakeholder feedback, it is clear that we have some work to do on the draft we shared before we can consider making a formal rule proposal.  We are continuing to work with stakeholders as we make those changes.

The best way to remain informed about the rule process is to sign up for our Solid Waste Handling ListServ.  If you receive this message directly, you are a member already.  If you know someone who may be interested, please forward this message to them.

You can find details on this rulemaking, including videos and information shared at recent workshops on our web pages:

Please submit comments to w2rrulemaking@ecy.wa.gov.  Thank you for continuing interest and participation in this rulemaking process.

 

 

August 24, 2016 Spokane River Regional Toxics Task Force Meeting

The next meeting of the Spokane River Regional Toxics Task Force is:

Date: Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Location:
Liberty Lake Sewer & Water District Office
22510 E. Mission Avenue Liberty Lake, WA 99019
Click here for a map

To attend by phone:
Call In Number: 800-704-9804
Participant Code: 34863442#

Please note, the conference call in number will remain open until 15 minutes until after the meeting begins. It will continue to remain open as long as there are callers on the line. If you wish to join the meeting by phone late, please notify Kara Whitman (kmwhitman@wsu.edu) ahead of time.

Meeting Documents
–  SRRTTF-08-24-16-Summary Notes_FINAL DRAFT
–  
SRRTTF Meeting July 27 summary_draft (decision item)
Agenda: SRRTTF August 24_2016 Agenda_draft V2
–  2016 SRRTTF Funding Support Letter_Governor Inslee docx (decision item)
–  Quick comments on the letter_AB
–  Data Managment Pilot Project – Scope of Work – Draft 08-08-16
 Draft SRRTTF Coment Letter – Solid Waste Handling Standards – 8_12_2016 (decision item)
–  AppendixB_0823_2016_Draft

Presentations:
–  SRRTTF_LimnoTech_08_22_2016_draft

Ecology News: Rule-making Information for WAC 173-350 – Solid Waste Handling Standards [mailto:ECY-SW-HANDLING-STANDARDS

We wanted to update you on progress toward revising the rules in Chapter 173-350 WAC – Solid Waste Handling Standards.

Outcome of July Meetings

More than a hundred stakeholders attended three meetings across the state in July.  The purpose of the meetings was to inform stakeholders about possible changes, and why, and to generate discussion.  Participants raised good questions, and helped the agency identify aspects of the draft rule needing more consideration.  As a result, lead staff are already working on some changes to the draft rule.

Updated Web Site

There have been some important updates on our web pages.  If you need a refresher, or were unable to attend the meetings there is a way for you to learn more about the rule.  We have added video clips and pdfs of individual presentations from the Lacey meeting to our public involvement page.  You can choose your area of interest in order to make the best use of your time.

We have also posted a revised version of the draft rule to our documents page.  The new version reflects errors noted in the draft that were corrected following the meetings.  Errors to date are generally minor.  There were several corrections in new section 995 – Soil and sediment screening levels, which is used in conjunction with new section 235 – Soil and sediment criteria and use.  Some threshold levels and footnotes for chromium, lead, and molybdenum were corrected, and additional information was added in the reference portion following the criteria table.  These are detailed in the errata sheet included with the revised draft.  If you find any errors in the draft rule, please let us know.

Next Steps

We will be evaluating any comments we receive by early September.   We have asked for comments from stakeholders by September 6.  Ecology plans to move forward with drafting formal rule revisions this fall, and we hope to make a formal rule proposal later this year or early in 2017.  The formal proposal will include public hearings and an additional comment period before and after the hearings. We are continuing to work with stakeholders to improve rule language in the interim.

As always, this ListServ remains the best source of information for updates on rule development.  If you know others who may be interested, please forward this message.  Anyone can subscribe or manage their subscription from the log in – registration page.

The Department sincerely thanks those who made the effort and could take time to attend the informational meetings.  We look forward to hearing from anyone who has comments on the preliminary draft rule.  If you have questions about the rule process or where to direct questions, please send email to w2rrulemaking@ecy.wa.gov or phone 360-407-6559.

 

Thank you!

 

 

Kyle Dorsey

Rules & Policy Specialist

Waste 2 Resources Program

Washington State Department of Ecology

PO Box 47600

Olympia, WA  98504-7600

360-407-6559

 

Ecology News: Rulemaking

CR-101 Preproposal Statement of Inquiry – Filed with the Office of the Code Reviser July 19, 2016.
  • Uses and Limitations of the Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund (WAC 173-98) and Uses and Limitations of the Centennial Clean Water Program (WAC 173-95A)
Ecology proposes to revise two existing chapters, Chapter 173-98 WAC and Chapter 173-95A WAC. The key things we are trying to accomplish with the rulemaking are: housekeeping, provide more clarity, provide more flexibility, and take advantage of new funding opportunities.
For more information and to stay up to date on Ecology rule-making go to http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/ruledev/wac17398/1604ov.html