WSR 04-12-034

DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY


[ Filed May 27, 2004, 1:42 p.m. ]

Water Cleanup Plan List

Public Comments Invited on Water Cleanup Plan List for Fiscal Year 2005


What is a Water Cleanup Plan? Water cleanup plans, also called total maximum daily loads or TMDLs, are used to restore water bodies (streams, rivers, lakes, and estuaries) to good water quality. They include the following:

Description of the type, amount, and sources of water pollution in a particular water body or segment.

Analysis of how much the pollution needs to be reduced or eliminated to attain water quality standards.

Strategy to control pollution.

Monitoring plan to assess effectiveness.

The Washington Department of Ecology (ecology) usually does the scientific analysis required for a TMDL. Then, local people help identify specific sources of pollution and the best approaches for addressing the problems. The plans may include pollutant limits in wastewater discharge permits for municipalities and industries, and recommendations for practices such as fencing, planting trees, and ensuring buffers next to streams.

Why do we need to clean up the water? The federal Clean Water Act requires that all states restore their waters to be "fishable and swimmable." To achieve this goal, the state of Washington has established water quality standards designed to protect the beneficial uses of our water bodies. Beneficial uses include drinking water, recreation, and habitat for fish and other aquatic life.

According to its agreement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, ecology is on a fifteen-year schedule to produce cleanup plans for about seven hundred polluted water bodies on the 1996 list of impaired water bodies ("the 303d list"). However, there is an even more important reason: Washington's citizens have clearly said they would rather have clean water than dirty water.

Why did we pick these water bodies? Every year, we choose individual water bodies or watersheds from the list of impaired waters in each of our four regions on which to develop water cleanup plans. To help us select these waters, we met with local groups in communities in fall of 2004. Eventually all the water bodies on the impaired waters list will have a water cleanup plan.

Contact ecology if you have comments on the list for this year (see table below) or if you have information on any of these watersheds that might help with our cleanup planning. Work begins on these projects in fall of 2005. However, actions to improve water quality can be initiated at any time and are on-going in many watersheds throughout Washington. The entire list of impaired water bodies can be viewed on our website: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/303d.


Water Cleanup Plan
List for FY 2005

Regional Office Primary Location Waterbody(s) Name Pollution Problems
CRO Yakima County *Selah Ditch Fecal Coliform (bacteria), Temperature, Dissolved Oxygen
CRO Kittitas County Upper Yakima River Temperature
ERO Whitman County Palouse River Dissolved Oxygen, pH, Fecal Coliform (bacteria), Ammonia, Temperature, Toxic Chemicals
ERO Spokane County Newman Lake Phosphorous
NWRO Skagit County Samish Watershed Fecal Coliform (bacteria)
NWRO Snohomish County *Old Stillaguamish Channel in Stillaguamish River watershed Dissolved Oxygen; pH
NWRO Snohomish County Little Bear Creek Fecal Coliform (bacteria)
SWRO Clark, Skamania counties E. Fork Lewis River Temperature, Fecal Coliform (bacteria)
SWRO Lewis, Cowlitz, Skamania counties Gifford Pinchot National Forest Temperature
*Proposed project if resources are available this year.

Definitions of Pollution Problems: Although not necessarily agents of disease, fecal coliform bacteria indicate the presence of disease-carrying organisms that live in the same environment as the fecal coliform bacteria.

A certain minimum amount of dissolved oxygen must be present in water for aquatic life to survive.

Temperature is important because it governs the kinds of aquatic life that can live in a stream.

pH is a term used to indicate the alkalinity or acidity of a substance as ranked on a scale from 1.0 to 14.0. Neutral pH is 7.0. Acidity increases as the pH gets lower.

Toxic Chemicals, such as DDT and PCBs, can persist in sediments and be present in water, and have adverse effects on humans and aquatic organisms.

Phosphorous serves as a nutrient or "fertilizer" for algae and aquatic plants. Too much algae causes aesthetic problems and reduces oxygen levels in lakes and streams.

Please address your comments on the priority list by June 24, 2004, to Ron McBride, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, e-mail rmcb461@ecy.wa.gov, phone (360) 407-6469, fax (360) 407-6426. Contact Ron for more information.

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