WSR 04-16-121


[ Filed August 4, 2004, 10:42 a.m. ]

Modified Industrial Stormwater General Permit

Available for Review and Public Comment

Introduction: The Washington State Department of Ecology (ecology) is hosting a series of public hearings and informational workshops on its proposal to modify the industrial stormwater general permit. The draft modified permit is proposed to replace the existing permit that was issued and subsequently appealed. Modifying and reissuing the industrial stormwater general permit is part of a settlement agreement to resolve the appeal.

The modified permit provides coverage for industries located in Washington state, statewide, that discharge stormwater associated with industrial activities. Under federal and state water quality law (Federal Clean Water Act and State Water Pollution Control Act); a permit is required for the discharge of wastewater. A discharge of stormwater associated with industrial activities is a discharge of wastewater. Ecology first issued its baseline general permit on November 18, 1992, covering both industrial and construction activities. When reissued in 1995, the industrial stormwater general permit no longer included construction activities (covered under separate construction general permit).

Permits must be reissued at least every five years and the industrial stormwater general permit was reissued without substantive changes by ecology on October 4, 2000, with an expiration date of November 18, 2005. After an appeal and settlement, ecology revised the permit substantially and reissued it on August 21, 2002, with an expiration date of November 18, 2007. This permit was appealed. Because of the appeal and a new law passed by the legislature, ecology is now proposing to modify the existing permit. The modified permit is now available for review and comment. This modification will not change the expiration date of the permit.

Most industrial activities that discharge stormwater either directly or indirectly to surface water are required to obtain permit authorization for their discharge unless they apply for a [and] receive a "No Exposure" certificate. Specifically, facilities listed in the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) at 40 C.F.R. Subpart 122.26(b)(14)(i-xi, excluding x), stormwater discharges, are included for coverage under the modified permit. A more complete listing of facilities and applicable Standard Industrial Codes (SIC) can be found in the modified permit in Appendix #1-Section C, categories 1-9 and 11.

Permit Requirements: The modified general permit addresses the legal requirements and controls the discharges of pollutants to protect the water quality of ground water and surface water in our state. A general permit is like an individual wastewater discharge permit except that it addresses a group of facilities as a whole. A single permit is developed that implements standard stormwater management, treatment, monitoring, and reporting requirements for all permit holders covered under the general permit. Interested persons are encouraged to obtain a copy of the proposed modified permit and fact sheet addendum and/or attend a workshop and hearing.

The proposed modified permit includes some significant revisions and additions. Some* of these proposed changes include:

Conditionally authorizing some non-stormwater discharges.
Clarifying how ecology's Stormwater Management Manuals are used under the permit.
Clarifying that water clean-up plans or TMDLs which have been completed after the permit issuance date are generally not applicable.
The presumption of compliance with standards provided permittees are in full compliance with the permit and site specific information does not demonstrate otherwise.
Elimination of standard mixing zones.
Relaxation of the stormwater sample collection criteria (storm intensity, dry antecedent period, and first flush collection).
Replace the effluent limitation for existing dischargers which discharge into water bodies which fail to meet water quality standards (303(d) listed waters) with a benchmark.
Eliminate the compliance schedule for existing dischargers which discharge into water bodies which fail to meet water quality standards and for existing dischargers subject to TMDL requirements.
Clarified what permittees must do when sample results are above benchmark values.
* To see all of the proposed permit modifications please refer to the proposed permit and accompanying fact sheet addendum.

This public comment period is only on the proposed permit modifications. Comments received on the parts of the permit which are not being modified will not be considered during this comment period and in developing the final permit.

General Permit Issuance: Ecology expects to issue the modified general permit no earlier than October 20, 2004. The modified permit becomes effective thirty days after issuance. The final permit may, however, be modified based on the comments received and if changes represent a substantial departure from the scope or conditions in the modified draft permit, another public notice of draft and comment period may ensue. When issued, a copy of the notice of issuance and ecology's response to the comments will be sent to all persons who submit written comments or give public testimony.

How to Request Copies of the Proposed Modified Permit: The modified permit and fact sheet addendum may be downloaded from the Internet

Information regarding the Industrial Stormwater General Permit Appeal may be found at

Or you may request a copy of the proposed modified permit and fact sheet addendum by contacting Joyce Smith:

Through the address noted below;
By telephone (360) 407-6858, fax (360) 407-6426;
By e-mail
Where to Submit Written Comments: Ecology is seeking public comment on the proposed modifications to the industrial stormwater general permit. Comments should reference specific text followed by proposed modification or concern when possible. Comments may address technical issues, accuracy and completeness of information, the scope of facilities proposed for coverage, adequacy of environmental protection and permit conditions, or any other concern that would result from issuance of this modified permit. This public comment period is only on the modified parts of the permit. Comments received on existing parts of the permit will not be considered in developing the final permit.

If you wish to comment on the proposed permit modifications you may do so by attending and testifying at one of the public hearings below or you may send your written comments to ecology. Please send written comments to Comments, Industrial Stormwater General Permit, Washington State Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600.

Written comments may also be submitted by e-mail to the following address

Written comments must be received by ecology no later than 5:00 p.m., September 27, 2004. Comments may also be made by attending and testifying at one of the public hearings listed below.

Public Workshop/Hearings: Four public workshops and hearings on the proposed modifications to the permit are scheduled. The purpose of the workshop is to explain the modified general permit, answer questions, and discuss your ideas and concerns before formal testimony begins. The purpose of the hearing is to provide interested parties an opportunity to state for the record their opinions and comments on the proposed modifications to the general permit. The informational workshops will all begin at 1:30 p.m., and the formal public hearing to provide testimony will begin immediately after the workshop concludes. The workshops and hearings will be held on the following dates, times and locations noted below. Additional information on the meeting location may be obtained from the Internet or by contacting Joyce Smith (see above):

Dates, Times, and Locations of the Public Workshops/Hearings:

Lynnwood Civic Center, Council Chambers, 19100 44th Avenue West, Lynnwood, WA, on September 20, 2004, at 1:30 p.m.; at The Olympia Center, 222 North Columbia, Olympia, WA, on September 21, 2004, at 1:30 p.m.; at Lair Building, Little Foot A & B, North 1810 Greene Street, Spokane, WA, on September 23, 2004, at 1:30 p.m.; and at the Hal Holmes Community Center, 201 North Ruby Street, Ellensburg, WA, on September 24, 2004, at 1:30 p.m.

Ecology is an equal opportunity agency. If you have special accommodation needs or require the fact sheet addendum and proposed modified permit in an alternative format, please contact Joyce Smith at (360) 407-6858 or TDD (only) (360) 407-6006.

Legislature Code Reviser 


Washington State Code Reviser's Office