WSR 05-22-121

DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY


[ Filed November 2, 2005, 10:36 a.m. ]


Issuance of the Final Construction Stormwater NPDES and

State Waste Discharge General Permit



The Washington State Department of Ecology (ecology) is reissuing a final general permit to cover stormwater discharges from construction sites on November 16, 2005. The permit is effective on December 16, 2005. The permit is called the "Construction Stormwater General Permit, a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and State Waste Discharge General Permit." A revision to the federal NPDES rules by the Environmental Protection Agency changed the requirements for construction stormwater permits from five acres to one acre or greater.

A draft permit and fact sheet was available for review and public comment from July 6, 2005, until August 26, 2005. Ecology published a public announcement in the Washington State Register (WSR 05-13-166), Bellingham Herald, Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, Spokesman-Review, and The Columbian. An announcement was also mailed to all parties identified as interested parties and existing permit holders who submitted a permit renewal application. In addition, the announcement was made available on ecology's web site.

Ecology hosted six public workshops and hearings on the draft permit in Bothell, Mt. Vernon, Vancouver, Spokane, Richland, and Tacoma. During the public comment period, ecology received forty written public comment letters and e-mails, and two people gave oral testimony. The public comments helped to shape the final permit.

Purpose of the General Permit: The permit will cover construction activities in Washington state, which disturb one or more acres of soil. The permit effective date is December 16, 2005. Under federal and state law (the federal Clean Water Act and state Water Pollution Control Act) the permit controls the discharge of pollutants to waters of the state.

Who will be covered by the permit? Construction sites covered under the current general permit that submitted a renewal application to ecology will continue to have coverage under the revised permit unless otherwise notified by ecology.

New construction sites or sites without permits, which will disturb one acre or more of soil and have the potential to discharge stormwater runoff to surface waters of the state, must apply for permit coverage.

Construction sites without permits that disturb one to five acres have until February 14, 2006 to either:

1) Apply to ecology for permit coverage, or

2) Finish all construction activity and fully stabilize all disturbed soils on-site.

This permit is not required if all stormwater runoff from the area affected by construction activity is retained on-site (infiltrated) and cannot enter surface waters of the state under any condition. Anyone with knowledge of why a specific site should or should not receive coverage under this general permit may also contact ecology.

Geographic Area: This general permit is valid and applies statewide.

Applying for a Permit: To obtain coverage under the general permit, applicants must submit a complete permit application to the Department of Ecology. Applicants can request or download an application from ecology. The application is available online at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/stormwater/construction/.

Applicants publish a public notice for two consecutive weeks (with a seven-day time span) in a newspaper that has general circulation in the county in which the construction is to take place (see WAC 173-226-130(5)). The thirty-day public comment period begins on the publication date of the second public notice (required by WAC 173-226-130(4)). Unless ecology responds to the complete application in writing, based on public comments, or any other relevant factors, coverage under the general permit will begin on the thirty-first day following receipt by the department of a completed application, or the issuance date of this permit, whichever is later.

For application-related requests, please contact Linda Matlock, Water Quality Program, Washington State Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, phone (360) 407-6437, fax (360) 407-6426, e-mail lmat461@ecy.wa.gov.

Changes to the Final General Permit: Based on the public comments, ecology made several changes to the permit. However, the overall direction and intent of the permit has not changed. Ecology edited the general permit to make it more clear and concise, and to address legal and technical issues raised during the public comment period. The primary changes to the permit include:

Removed the requirement for the stormwater pollution prevention plan to be available to the public during the thirty-day public comment period for new applications for permit coverage.
Revised criteria for obtaining an erosivity waiver, which exempts certain small (less than five acres), short-term projects from needing permit coverage.
Added a timeline for previously unpermitted one to five acre projects to apply for permit coverage (applications are due by February 14, 2006).
Revised discharge transparency sampling and reporting requirements for one to five acre projects, which begins October 1, 2008.
Revised discharge turbidity sampling and reporting requirements for five plus acre projects, which begins October 1, 2006.
Revised pollution prevention actions and timelines, required to address off-site discharges which do not attain benchmark values (goals) for turbidity and transparency.
Revised requirements for new and existing discharges to polluted or impaired waterbodies, also known as 303(d)-listed, and waterbodies with clean-up plans, also known as total maximum daily loads (TMDLs). Special requirements only apply if the water quality impairment is due to turbidity, fine sediment, phosphorus, or high pH.
For more details on changes to the final general permit, ecology prepared a Response to Comments document (also included in the fact sheet for the construction stormwater general permit). This document includes a summary of all changes made to the draft permit, ecology's response to all the written comments submitted during the public comment period, and a list of those who provided comments. It is available by request to the address listed below, or from ecology's construction stormwater web site, http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/stormwater/construction/, Water Quality Program, Washington State Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600.

Appeals: The terms and conditions of this general permit may be appealed only by filing an appeal to the Pollution Control Hearings Board and by serving it upon the Department of Ecology at the addresses below. Appeals of the general permit must be made within thirty days of issuance or receipt whichever is later (see chapter 43.21B RCW). The procedures and requirements for the appeal process are contained in RCW 43.21B.310. ("RCW" is the Revised Code of Washington.)

If you choose to appeal this permit, your notice of appeal must contain a copy of the permit.

You must file your appeal with the Pollution Control Hearings Board, 4224 6th Avenue S.E., RoweSix, Building 2, P.O. Box 40903, Lacey, WA 98504-0903.

You must also serve a copy of your appeal to the Department of Ecology, Appeals Coordinator, P.O. Box 47608 Olympia, WA 98504-7608.

Individual Discharger Appeals: The terms and conditions of a general permit, as they apply to an individual discharger, can be appealed within thirty days of the effective date of coverage of that discharger (see chapter 43.21B RCW). This appeal is limited to the general permit's applicability or nonapplicability to a specific discharger.

If you choose to appeal coverage under this permit, you must file a copy of your appeal with the Pollution Control Hearings Board, 4224 6th Avenue S.E., RoweSix, Building 2, P.O. Box 40903, Lacey, WA 98504-0903.

You must also serve a copy of your appeal to the Department of Ecology, Appeals Coordinator, P.O. Box 47608, Olympia, WA 98504-7608.

Effective Date of the Permit: This permit will be effective on December 16, 2005.

For Information about the General Permit: Jeff Killelea, Water Quality Program, Washington State Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, phone (360) 407-6127, fax (360) 407-6426, e-mail jkil461@ecy.wa.gov.

If you need this information in an alternate format, please contact ecology at (360) 407-6401. If you are a person with a speech or hearing impairment, call 711 or 1-800-833-6388 for TTY.