WSR 02-08-073

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY


[ Order 02-06 -- Filed April 2, 2002, 4:09 p.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: In the 2000 session, the Washington state legislature passed E2SHB 2867, which expanded the definition of "reservoir" in RCW 90.03.370 to include, "any naturally occurring underground geological formation where water is collected and stored for subsequent use as part of an underground artificial storage and recovery project."

The legislation also directed the Department of Ecology to adopt a rule identifying the standards to be met by any underground geological formation which is utilized by an aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) project. This rule will establish the standards for review of proposals and mitigation of any adverse impacts described in new subsection RCW 90.03.370 (2)(a). EHB 2993 added additional amendments that will impact the rule language. The rule will be adopted as a new chapter of the Washington Administrative Code.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 90.03.370 (2)(b) states: Standards for review and standards for mitigation of adverse impacts for an underground artificial storage and recovery project shall be established by the (ecology) department by rule.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: As a result of increasingly competing demands for water use in the state, the legislature has identified the storage of water for future recovery as a viable and important approach to augment water availability in certain situations. Specifically, the 2000 legislature broadened the possibilities for underground storage of water in the state and directed ecology to establish standards to ensure that such storage activities do not have adverse effects on the environment.

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: The Washington Department of Health (DOH) regulates public water systems and, in cooperation with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is responsible for administering the Safe Drinking Water Act and the protection of drinking water supplies. The EPA and ecology's water quality program (WQ) are responsible for protecting ground water sources. Representatives from DOH, EPA and WQ are participants in the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) created by ecology to involve technical expertise in the rule-making process.

Process for Developing New Rule: Ecology will involve the public at several points in the process. Ecology's plan is to use a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to develop the basic foundational elements of a possible rule proposal, and then hold at least two public workshops where the elements of the possible rule will be presented. Ecology also intends to have a broader group of interested parties review the work of the TAG on an on-going basis.

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication. Persons or organizations interested in the work of the TAG, the possible rule proposal, the public workshops, or other aspects of the possible rule should contact either Doug McChesney or Kathleen Ensenat by phone at (360) 407-6647 or 407-6780, by e-mail at dmcc461@ecy.wa.gov or kspa461@ecy.wa.gov, or by mail at Water Resources Program, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600.

April 2, 2002

Joe Stohr

Program Manager

Washington State Code Reviser's Office