WSR 06-05-105

DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY


[ Filed February 14, 2006, 4:39 p.m. ]


Announcing the Issuance of the

Aquatic Plant and Algae Management General Permit



The Washington department of ecology (ecology) is issuing a final general permit to cover the application of aquatic herbicides, algaecides, and nutrient inactivation products to state waters. Ecology issued the permit on March 1, 2006, and it will take effect on April 1, 2006. The permit, called the "Aquatic Plant and Algae Management General Permit, a joint National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and State Waste Discharge General Permit," rescinds and replaces the Nuisance Plant and Algae Control NPDES General Permit (WAG-994000) and provides coverage for any in-lake treatment of state listed noxious weeds or quarantine-list weeds.

This general permit covers aquatic plant and algae management activities that discharge chemicals and other aquatic plant and algae control products into freshwater lakes of Washington state. The permit also regulates shoreline native emergent vegetation control activities along lake

shorelines where chemicals may enter the water and the application of herbicides to native nuisance plants in wet areas along roadsides or ditch banks. The products regulated by the permit include herbicides, algaecides, adjuvants, marker dyes, barley straw, shading products, biological water clarifiers, or nutrient inactivation products. The permit requires any person or group conducting aquatic and algae plant management products involving these types of products to obtain coverage under this permit. There are three different management categories covered under this permit: Eradication, control, and nutrient inactivation.

Summary of public involvement process: On November 22, 2005, ecology published a notice in the Washington State Register (WSR 05-23-136). Ecology also posted an announcement on its web site. Ecology held public workshops and hearings in Centralia on January 9, 2006, Spokane on January 10, 2006, and Lynnwood on January 12, 2006. The public comment period closed Friday, January 27, 2006.

Ecology prepared a Response to Comments, which is an appendix to the fact sheet for the aquatic plant and algae management general permit. It includes ecology's response to all the comments submitted during the public comment period and notes those changes made to the draft permit. It is available from ecology's web site http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/pesticides/.

Summary of significant changes: Based on comments received during the formal public comment period, ecology made the following significant changes to the general permit:

Changed the permit from a state waste discharge general permit to a joint state waste and NPDES permit (chapter 90.48 RCW and 40 C.F.R.). This change to a NPDES permit does not significantly alter any of the permit content.

Due to significant comment on the restriction allowing only 40% of the littoral zone on individual water front lots to be treated, ecology has:

o Replaced the 40% restriction with a tiered strategy. The amount of littoral zone in a lake allowed for treatment each year is based on the total acreage of the lake.

o Limited an individual homeowner's treatment area (when not treating as part of a lake-wide effort). If an individual homeowner wishes to treat in front of their house, they may treat up to ten feet on both sides of their dock, or twenty feet total (in lieu of treatment around a dock). This is an "intended treatment area," allowing for some drift and unintended impacts to nontarget plants.

Set out separate conditions and treatment limitations for Lake Washington, Lake Union/Portage Bay, and Lake Sammamish in the "control" section of the final permit.

Clarified language regarding permit application timelines. Ecology must receive applications at least sixty days prior to the start of aquatic plant and algae management activities. This sixty-day time period will include a thirty-day public comment period on the application itself, and a fourteen-day public comment period on the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) documentation submitted on the project.

Provided more protection for threatened, sensitive, and endangered plants.

Appeals Procedure: The terms and conditions of a general permit may be appealed only by filing an appeal to the

pollution control hearings board and by serving it upon ecology at the Pollution Control Hearings Board, P.O. Box 40903, Olympia, WA 98504-0903 and the Department of Ecology, Appeals Coordinator, P.O. Box 47608, Olympia, WA 98504-7608. Appeals of the general permit must be made within thirty days of issuance or receipt, whichever is later (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).

In addition, please send a copy of your appeal to Kelly McLain, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-47600 [98504-7600].

The terms and conditions of a general permit, as they apply to an individual discharger, are appealable within thirty days of the effective date of coverage of that discharger (see chapter 43.21C RCW). This appeal is limited to the general permit's applicability or nonapplicability to a specific discharger.

Application process and permit coverage: New or unpermitted applicators seeking coverage should request an application from ecology headquarters. Applicators conducting aquatic plant and algae management described above, and

in accordance with permit conditions will receive coverage, unless ecology is provided with reasons to deny coverage. Anyone with knowledge of why a specific facility should or should not receive coverage under this general permit may contact the ecology regional office appropriate for the location of the applicator's project.

To apply for coverage under this permit, submit a completed application form to ecology headquarters and complete the public notice requirements. The application and public notice process is available from ecology headquarters; see contact information below.

For additional information: Please contact Kelly McLain, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-47600 [98504-7600], phone (360) 407-6938, fax (360) 407-6426, e-mail kelm461@ecy.wa.gov.

If you need this information in an alternative format, please contact the program development services section secretary at (360) 407-6401. If you are a person with a speech or hearing impairment, call 711 or 1-800-833-6388 for TTY.