WSR 05-04-109


[ Filed February 2, 2005, 10:13 a.m. ]




Introduction and Purpose: Federal and state water quality regulations establish national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) and waste discharge general permit requirements for stormwater discharges from certain industries, construction sites, and municipalities. In general, stormwater is the rainfall that flows overland into a drainage system and discharges into a surface water body or a constructed infiltration facility. Stormwater can transport pollutants and disturb flow regimes in streams, wetlands and other water bodies. Municipal stormwater permits regulate discharges from publicly-owned ditches, pipes, and other conveyances.

A municipal stormwater permit is being developed to meet the requirements of chapter 90.48 RCW as amended, and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (federal Clean Water Act) Title 33 United States Code, Section 1251 et seq., as amended. The permit will comply with C.F.R. 40 Section 122 and chapter 173-226 WAC.

In accordance with the state's waste discharge general permit regulation, WAC 173-226-130, the purpose of this announcement is to:

1) Provide notice of a preliminary determination to develop a general permit,
2) Request comments as to whether a general permit or individual permits would be more appropriate for such discharges, and
3) Provide an opportunity for interested or potentially affected parties to submit information on dischargers and discharges proposed to be covered under the permit as well as any other relevant information.
The federal Clean Water Act establishes a two-part system for implementing municipal stormwater permits. Larger and medium-sized municipalities are covered in Phase I; smaller jurisdictions are addressed later under Phase II. In 2000, the United States Environmental Protection Agency finalized NPDES Phase II rules regulating municipally-owned separate storm sewer systems within census-defined urban areas. These rules require the Department of Ecology to expand its stormwater program by issuing permits to additional operators of MS4s that discharge to surface waters.

The Department of Ecology has proposed to issue separate general permits for Phase II in eastern and western Washington and directed staff to begin developing the permit for western Washington last year. This notice pertains only to the permit for eastern Washington.

The Phase II general NPDES permit for eastern Washington applies to approximately twenty jurisdictions located within the five 2000 census-defined urban areas in eastern Washington: Clarkston, Wenatchee, Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Yakima. Another five cities in eastern Washington with populations greater than 10,000 will be evaluated, using other designation criteria, for inclusion in the Phase II process: Ellensburg, Moses Lake, Pullman, Sunnyside, and Walla Walla.

Proposed Timeline:

A preliminary draft permit will be published for public comment in late spring 2005.
The target for the final draft, public hearings and requesting formal public comments is late summer 2005.
The target date for issuing the final permit is the end of 2005.
Documents Available: The federal Phase II regulations establish minimum requirements for the scope of the permits and content of the related stormwater management program to be developed by each permittee. This rule is posted at:

The Department of Ecology assisted eastern Washington jurisdictions in compiling a Model Municipal Stormwater Program for Eastern Washington. The model program provides guidance to local jurisdictions on programmatic activities that should be a part of their stormwater management programs. This document and other information about stormwater initiatives in eastern Washington are available at:

More information about the Phase II permit program, the communities that must apply for the Phase II permit, and the federal Phase II regulations is at:

Public Comment/Interested Parties: This is a preliminary notice of the Department of Ecology's intent to issue a general municipal stormwater permit. Public comments may be submitted on the characteristics of municipal storm sewer discharges including effluent quantity, quality and any receiving water impacts. These comments can relate to an individual discharger, or be representative of the category as a whole. Any other relevant information may also be submitted.

There will be further opportunities to supply information, comments, or testimony as the Phase II municipal stormwater general permit for eastern Washington is developed and issued. If you have any information or comments you would like the department to consider in developing the preliminary draft of the eastern Washington Phase II municipal stormwater permit, please send them to the Department of Ecology no later than March 15, 2005. You may send your written comments and/or get on the mailing list for the eastern Washington Phase II NPDES permit by contacting Karen Dinicola, Water Quality Program, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47696, Olympia, WA 98504-7696, e-mail, (360) 407-6550.

For Further Information: See our website at or contact Department of Ecology, Water Quality Program, (360) 407-6600 and you will be referred to the appropriate person.

If you have special accommodation needs or require this document in an alternative format, please contact the Department of Ecology's Diversity Program at (360) 407-6020. If you are a person with a speech or hearing impairment, call 711 or 800-833-6388 for TTY.

Washington State Code Reviser's Office