WSR 06-04-096


[ Filed February 1, 2006, 10:49 a.m. ]


Announcing public comment period and formal draft of the

Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit for Eastern Washington

     The department of ecology (ecology) is issuing a draft general permit to cover municipal stormwater. The title of the draft permit is "Draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and State Waste Discharge General Permit for Discharges from Small Municipal Separate Stormwater Sewers in Eastern Washington." The permit is also referred to as the "Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit for Eastern Washington."

     What is being regulated by this permit and who is affected? In December 1999, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the Phase II municipal stormwater regulations. These regulations went into effect in March 2003. This permit regulates discharges from small municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) located in eastern Washington that discharge into waters of the state. A MS4 is a conveyance or system of conveyances including roads with drainage systems, municipal streets, catch basins, curbs, gutters, ditches, man-made channels, and/or storm drains which is:

     1. Owned or operated by a city, town, county, district, association or other public body created pursuant to state law having jurisdiction over disposal of sewage, industrial wastes, stormwater, or other wastes, including special districts under state law such as sewer districts, flood control districts or drainage districts, or similar entity;

     2. Designed or used for collecting or conveying stormwater;

     3. Not a combined sewer system; and

     4. Not part of a publicly owned treatment works (POTW) (see 40 C.F.R. 122.2).

     Under EPA rules, entities that need a permit: Own or operate a MS4 that discharges to surface waters; are located in urbanized areas as defined by the United States Census Bureau; and serve a population of more than 1,000. For maps of census defined urban areas in eastern Washington and associated permit coverage areas, please consult ecology's webpage

     Cities, towns, and counties that may be subject to this permit include:

     Cities and Towns: Asotin, Clarkston, East Wenatchee, Ellensburg, Liberty Lake, Kennewick, Millwood, Moses Lake, Pasco, Pullman, Richland, Selah, Spokane, Spokane Valley, Sunnyside, Union Gap, Walla Walla, Wenatchee, West Richland, and Yakima.

     Counties: Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Franklin, Spokane, Walla Walla, and Yakima.

     In addition, the EPA rules also require permit coverage for special purpose districts operating a regulated MS4 within census defined urban areas (see list above). A special purpose district is subject to this permit if the district:

     1. Is a public entity;

     2. Is located within or partially within the census defined urban areas of eastern Washington;

     3. Owns or operates a stormdrain system that discharges to surface waters; and

     4. Serves more than 1,000 people, including resident and commuter population.

     Special purpose districts that could be subject to this permit include public ports, irrigation districts, diking and drainage districts, flood control districts, public schools, public universities, and state agencies. Ecology will regulate special purpose districts subject to this permit as

secondary permittees. Secondary permittees will generally have reduced permit requirements.

     This permit will not apply to the Washington state department of transportation, which ecology will cover under a separate permit.

     Purpose of the general permit: The proposed general permit covers stormwater discharges from separate stormwater sewer systems in certain urbanized areas of eastern Washington. Federal and state water quality laws require a permit for the discharge of stormwater (Federal Water Pollution Control Act Title 22 United States Code, Section 1251 et seq., State Water Pollution Control Act, chapter 90.48 RCW). The proposed permit addresses these legal requirements and requires the public entities covered by the permit to control the discharge of pollutants to protect surface water and ground water quality in Washington state.

     The proposed general permit will require municipalities and other entities covered by the permit to develop and implement a stormwater management program. A stormwater management program contains the following elements:

     1. Public education and outreach,

     2. Public involvement and participation,

     3. Illicit discharge detection and elimination,

     4. Construction site stormwater runoff control,

     5. Post construction stormwater management, and

     6. Pollution prevention and good housekeeping.

     The stormwater management program includes requirements for controlling pollution in stormwater from areas of existing development, as well as in areas of expected future growth. In addition, the proposed permit requires programs to address approved total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) or water cleanup plan requirements, and to evaluate the program itself.

     How to obtain a copy of the draft permit: The draft permit, fact sheet, and application (also called notice of intent or NOI) are available online at

     To obtain printed copies of the draft permit, fact sheet, and NOI, contact Jennifer Hennessey, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, phone (360) 407-7529, fax (360) 407-6426, e-mail

     Submitting comments: Ecology will accept written and oral comments on the draft permit and fact sheet. Comments

should reference specific text, including page and line numbers, where possible.

     Please submit written comments to Department of Ecology, Water Quality Program, Eastern Washington Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit, P.O. Box 47696, Olympia, WA 98504-7696, e-mail, fax (360) 407-6426.

     Ecology must receive all written, e-mailed and faxed comments by 5:00 p.m. on May 19, 2006. Oral comments can be made by attending and testifying at the public hearing on April 25 (see the information below).

     Hearing: The hearing provides the public an opportunity to give formal comments on the proposed permit. A short workshop, including a question and answer session, will precede the hearing.

     Ellensburg: Tuesday, April 25, 2006 following the workshop at 1:00 p.m., Hal Holmes Community Center, 201 North Ruby Street, Ellensburg.

     Public workshops: The purpose of the workshops is to explain the general permit, to inform participants of how this

draft of the permit has changed from the previous draft of the permit, and to answer questions. Ecology will not accept formal oral testimony/comments on the draft permit, fact sheet, or NOI at the public workshops. The public workshops on the draft general permit will be held at the following locations, dates, and times:

     Kennewick: Wednesday, April 5, 2006 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Benton County PUD Auditorium, 2721 West 10th Avenue, Kennewick.

     Spokane: Thursday, April 13, 2006 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Spokane Public Health District Room 140 (Auditorium), 1101 West College Avenue, Spokane.

     Secondary permittee workshops: Ecology will also hold two public workshops specifically for the public entities who are not cities, towns, or counties that may also be required to obtain coverage under this permit. The purpose of the workshops is to explain the general permit, to go through the stormwater management program requirements for these entities, and to answer questions.

     Ellensburg: Tuesday, March 14, 2006 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Hal Holmes Community Center, 201 North Ruby Street, Ellensburg.

     Lacey: Tuesday, March 28, 2006, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Lacey Community Center, 6729 Pacific Avenue S.E., Lacey.

     Issuing the final general permit: Ecology will issue the final permit after it considers all public comments and makes final changes to the draft permit. Ecology expects to issue the final general permit at the end of September 2006. The permit will become effective thirty days after the date of issuance. When ecology issues the permit, it will send a copy of the final permit and fact sheet, including a formal written response to all comments received, to each person who provided comments during the public comment period.