WSR 06-11-154

DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY


[ Filed May 23, 2006, 4:32 p.m. ]


NOTICE OF PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD AND PUBLIC WORKSHOPS


DRAFT WATER QUALITY ASSESSMENT POLICY

AND

DRAFT ENSURING CREDIBLE DATA FOR WATER QUALITY MANAGEMENT POLICY



The water quality program of the department of ecology (ecology) is seeking public comment on two draft policies. Program Policy 1-11, Chapter 1, Assessment of Water Quality for the Clean Water Act Sections 303(d) and 305(b) Integrated Report has been redrafted. Ecology is also seeking public comment on a new draft Chapter 2 to Program Policy 1-11, Ensuring Credible Data for Water Quality Management.

Program Policy 1-11, Chapter 1, Assessment of Water Quality for the Clean Water Act Sections 303(d) and 305(b) Integrated Report: The policy that guides the assessment process for state surface waters is undergoing revision. The purpose of the assessment is to determine the status of state water quality based on water quality standards criteria and available data. The state is required under Section 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and the implementing regulations (40 C.F.R. 130.7) to periodically prepare a list of waters in which designated uses are impaired, as determined through the use of the water quality standards. The state is also directed to periodically submit other information in accordance with Section 305(b) of the CWA. Ecology is now beginning the process to prepare the 2006 list.

This policy describes how the standards are applied, requirements for the data used, and how to prioritize total maximum daily loads (TMDLs), among other issues.

Significant changes in the updated policy since 2002 include:

Incorporate changes in data quality assurance requirements for data submission as a result of the Water Quality Data Act (WQDA) of 2004.
Pollutant specific assessment and categorization procedures.
Additional requirements for the amount of data necessary to place a parameter/segment combination in Category 1 (clean water).
The environmental information management database will be used to manage most water quality data.

Program Policy 1-11, Chapter 2, Ensuring Credible Data for Water Quality Management: Ecology was directed to develop policy regarding the generation and use of credible data in certain water quality-related actions. This policy is required by the WQDA codified in RCW 90.48.570 through 90.48.590. The actions that require the use of credible data include the water quality assessment and TMDL calculations. Credible information and literature is used for revising water quality standards and developing water quality models. The primary basis of the draft policy is that credible data is generated through documentation of implementation of a quality assurance project plan. The plans have been a requirement for monitoring projects conducted by ecology staff and grant and loan recipients. Data used in the latest water quality assessment in 2002/2004 was also required to be collected under such plans.

The draft policies can be found at www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/303d/index.html. Paper copies are also available. The deadline for public comments is 5:00 p.m., Monday, July 10, 2006. Please submit comments in writing to the address below, or at any of the public workshops.

Ecology will host public workshops in six cities across Washington to discuss the draft updated water quality assessment policy and the new credible data policy. Ecology staff will explain the draft policies and the public will have an opportunity to ask questions and share their thoughts with ecology staff and other participants. Participants should also formally submit any comments they have in writing.

Each workshop will be the same, so it is only necessary to attend one.

Scheduled Workshops:

June 13 (Tuesday) Lacey, Department of Ecology, 300 Desmond Drive, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
June 14 (Wednesday) Mount Vernon, Skagit County PUD, 1415 Freeway Drive, 8:30 [6:30] p.m. - 6:30 [8:30] p.m.
June 15 (Thursday) Longview, Women's Club Building, 835 21st Avenue, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
June 21 (Wednesday) Spokane, Spokane Cooperative Extension, 222 North Havana, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
June 22 (Thursday) Moses Lake, Moses Lake Fire Station, 701 East Third Avenue, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
June 22 (Thursday) Yakima, Yakima Convention Center, 10 North 8th Street, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

To receive a paper copy of the draft policies, submit comments, or ask any other question about this process, please contact Michael Herold, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, e-mail 303d@ecy.wa.gov, phone (360) 407-6434.

David C. Peeler

Water Quality Program Manager

Washington State Code Reviser's Office