WSR 04-11-049

DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY


[ Filed May 14, 2004, 1:05 p.m. ]


PUBLIC NOTICE OF ISSUANCE


REISSUANCE OF THE FRESH FRUIT PACKING INDUSTRY

NPDES WASTEWATER DISCHARGE GENERAL PERMIT



INTRODUCTION: The Washington State Department of Ecology (the department) proposes to reissue the fresh fruit packing industry national pollutant discharge elimination system waste discharge general permit (the permit). This permit regulates the discharge of process and storm water from fresh fruit packing facilities to waters of the state, land application, and publicly owned treatment works. It is being reissued in accordance with the requirements of chapter 90.48 RCW and chapter 173-226 WAC.

IDENTIFICATION OF FACILITIES AND GEOGRAPHIC AREA COVERED: For the purposes of this permit, the state's fresh fruit packing industry is defined as those commercial facilities which receive, pack, store, and/or ship either hard or soft fruit. Every new or existing fresh fruit packing facility within the state which engages in any of these activities and has a wastewater discharge must apply for coverage under this permit according to the waste discharge general permit program, chapter 173-226 WAC. Although the industry is located primarily in the state's centralized fruit growing region along the Columbia, Yakima, Wenatchee, and Okanogan rivers, the permit is valid for the entire state of Washington (the state).

HOW TO APPLY FOR COVERAGE UNDER THE GENERAL PERMIT: Every new or existing fresh fruit packing facility with a wastewater discharge shall submit to the appropriate Department of Ecology regional office a completed and signed Application for Coverage form which has been specifically developed by ecology for this permit. Current permittees shall have submitted an Application for Coverage prior to expiration of the exiting permit. Coverage under the existing permit is administratively extended until the new permit is issued for facilities that have submitted an application for renewal prior to the existing permit's expiration date. New facilities shall submit an Application for Coverage and proof of compliance with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) at least one hundred and eighty days prior to any wastewater discharge. Individual permits will still be applied in those instances where ecology determines the general permit is not appropriate for that facility. Dischargers authorized by the general permit may request to be excluded from coverage under the general permit by applying for and, upon department approval, being issued an individual permit. Any facility required to apply for and obtain coverage under either this general permit or an individual NPDES/state waste discharge permit, with exception to those stipulated in WAC 173-216-050, and found not to have done so within the time limits given will be deemed to be in violation of the state Water Pollution Control Act and/or the federal Clean Water Act, and shall be subject to the enforcement sanctions provided in such acts for unlawfully discharging without a permit.

PUBLIC HEARINGS, COMMENTS, CHANGES IN THE PERMIT: The department held public hearings concerning permit reissuance on May 10, 2004, in Yakima and May 11, 2004, in Wenatchee. No testimony was given at either hearing. Two written comments were received prior to the May 12, 2004, comment period deadline. None of the comments resulted in changes to the draft permit. A summary of ecology's response to these comments is available to public review as an appendix to the fact sheet.

TENTATIVE DETERMINATION TO ISSUE THE GENERAL PERMIT: Ecology has tentatively determined to reissue this permit to discharge to public waters, subject to certain effluent limitations, best management practices, and special permit conditions. This notice will be published in the State Register, the Yakima Herald-Republic, and the Wenatchee Daily World on June 2, 2004. It will also be mailed to all current permittees and interested parties. The permit is tentatively scheduled to be issued on June 15, 2004, and will become effective on July 2, 2004.

PERMIT APPEALS: Pursuant to the provisions of chapter 43.21B RCW and chapter 173-226 WAC, any person who objects to the terms and conditions of this general permit as it applies to the fresh fruit packing industry may file an appeal of the permit by July 15, 2004, or within thirty days of the publication of this notice. Appeals should be sent to the Pollution Control Hearings Board, P.O. Box 40903, Olympia, WA 98504-0903. Concurrently, a copy of the appeal must be sent to the Department of Ecology, Central Regional Office, Attn: General Permit Manager, 15 West Yakima Avenue, Suite 200, Yakima, WA 98902. Any appeal of the permit must contain the following in accordance with the rules of the hearings board: (1) The appellant's name and address, (2) a description of the substance of the permit that is the subject of the appeal, (3) the date of the permit, (4) a clear and concise statement of facts upon which the appellant relies to sustain his or her statement of error, (5) a clear, separate, and concise statement of every error alleged to have been committed, and (6) a statement setting forth the relief sought.

Pursuant to the provisions of chapter 43.21B RCW and chapter 173-226 WAC, any person who objects to the terms and conditions of this general permit as it applies to coverage for an individual discharger may file an appeal of that coverage, as specified above, within thirty days of the effective date of coverage of that discharger.

Consideration of an appeal of this general permit coverage of an individual discharger is limited to the general permit's applicability or nonapplicability to that same discharger. Appeal of this permit coverage of an individual discharger shall not affect any other individual dischargers. If the terms and conditions of this general permit are found to be inapplicable to any discharger(s), the matter shall be remanded to the department for consideration of issuance of an individual permit or permits.

FURTHER INFORMATION: The proposed general permit, fact sheet, Application for Coverage, small business economic impact statement and summary, responsiveness summary, and other related documents are on file and may be inspected and copied between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., weekdays at the ecology location below. Copies of these documents will be sent to interested parties upon request. For further information contact Steven Huber, General Permit Manager, Washington State Department of Ecology, Central Regional Office, 15 West Yakima Avenue, Suite 200, Yakima, WA 98902, phone (509) 454-7298, fax (509) 575-2809, e-mail shub461@ecy.wa.gov.

The Department of Ecology is an equal opportunity agency and does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, disability, age, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disabled veteran's status, Vietnam Era veteran's status or sexual orientation.

If you have special accommodation needs or required this document in alternative format, please contact Cindy Huwe at (509) 457-7105 (voice) or 800-833-6388 (TDD).

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