WSR 04-03-020

DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY


[ Filed January 12, 2004, 4:07 p.m. ]


Meeting Notice


You are invited to comment on Washington's Water Quality Assessment, including the updated "Polluted Waters" list. The comment period ends March 15, 2004.

What is the Water Quality Assessment? The Department of Ecology (ecology) has prepared a preliminary assessment of water quality in Washington. This assessment meets requirements of the Clean Water Act. Assessed waters include all the rivers, lakes, and marine waters in the state where data were available. The assessed waters are listed in five categories that describe the status of water quality.

Category 5, the polluted waters category, is also known as the "303(d) list." Ecology will use the list of polluted waters to develop water cleanup plans, also known as total maximum daily loads (TMDLs).

The last polluted waters list was done in 1998. Following guidance from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the current listing process includes a much more comprehensive assessment of Washington's waters.

What can the public comment on during this review? Ecology encourages you to review waters with which you are familiar and provide comments where you see problems or disagree with the assessment results. If you disagree with the assessment results, please explain why and submit additional data, if available.

What if no data were submitted? During this review, ecology will also accept new data that were not submitted during the 2002 call for data. This information will be reviewed and incorporated into the final assessment as appropriate. See the webpage for details on how to submit data.

What happens after the public review? Ecology will review all comments and make changes to the preliminary assessment of waters as appropriate. We will also assess any new data we receive and update the assessment results based on the additional data. If there are a large number of changes due to new data, ecology will go out again for public review and comment on the new data.

The final assessment of waters in the various categories will be formally submitted to the EA for review and approval.

How do I learn more? To learn more about the preliminary assessment of Washington's waters, attend one of the five workshops scheduled in February 2004. These workshops are designed to provide general information about Washington's water quality assessment.

Ecology will not be able to answer questions about every specific listing at the workshops. If you cannot attend a workshop, or have comments or questions about specific listings, contact Ken Koch at (360) 407-6782, or visit our website at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/303d/2002/2002-index.html.

Since this is a large database with over 40,000 records, we are making it available on ecology's website. If you need this in an alternate format, please contact us.

Where may I submit comments? Ken Koch, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, e-mail 303d@ecy.wa.gov.

Workshops: Spokane on Tuesday, February 3, at 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Spokane Falls Community College, Student Union Building, #17, Lounge A and B, 3419 West Fort George Wright Drive; at Yakima, on Wednesday, February 4, at 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Yakima Arboretum, 1401 Arboretum Drive; at Everett on Tuesday, February 10, at 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Walter E. Hall Golf Course, 1226 West Casino Road; at Longview, on Wednesday, February 11, at 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Cowlitz PUD, 961 12th Avenue; and at Olympia, on Thursday, February 12, at 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Ecology HQ Auditorium, 300 Desmond Drive.

Agenda:

Overview of federal Clean Water Act requirements to develop this list.

Directions on how to review and comment on the list assessments.

Information on how the data was reviewed.

Ecology's process and schedule for submitting the list to EPA.

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