PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
Subject of Possible Rule Making: Chapter 173-201A WAC, Water quality standards for surface waters of the state of Washington, these amendments would modify the existing surface water quality standards for Washington. This rule making will propose to revise the surface water quality standards by:
• Moving from the current class-based system to a use-based system for designating beneficial uses of waters (for example swimming and aquatic life habitat) in Washington.
• Making changes to criteria (for example temperature and bacteria) for designated uses of the waters.
• Providing more clarity and detail on implementing the regulation, including the state's antidegradation policy.
• Organizing the structure and sections of the regulation to make it easier to use.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: Chapters 90.84 and 90.54 RCW.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: These changes are being undertaken to incorporate new science, provide more detail and clarity on implementing the regulations, and better tailor the criteria assigned to our waters to the characteristic uses that actually exist in those waters.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: Federal agencies include Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), US Fish and Wildlife Services, and National Marine Fisheries Service, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Public Health Service. State agencies include Departments of Health, Natural Resources, Transportation, Agriculture, Fish and Wildlife and Community, Trade and Economic Development (CTED). The coordination between agencies will also include Washington tribes, local municipalities, environmental interests, the regulated industry, and other interested parties.
Coordination during rule making includes: Work groups, advisory committees, consulting on the expertise of the agencies and interested parties, and distribution lists (e-mail and mailings).
Process for Developing New Rule: This rule making will continue to use public workshops, special stakeholder work sessions, collection and review of new water quality data, media releases, public hearings, fact sheets, FAQs, and distribution lists (e-mail and mailings).
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication. For the latest information related to the development of amendments to this rule interested parties can:
(1) Visit the water quality standards website http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/swqs/index.html.
(2) Sign up to be on the distribution list.
(3) Participate in the written public comment periods and public hearings offered after draft language has been proposed.
If interested parties have questions or comments they can contact Mark Hicks, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98505-7600, (360) 407-6477, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, fax (360) 407-6426.
September 17, 2002