WSR 08-03-145

DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY


[ Filed January 23, 2008, 11:23 a.m. ]


NOTICE OF PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD AND PUBLIC WORKSHOPS

DRAFT WATER QUALITY ASSESSMENT

INCLUDING

THE SECTION 303(d) LIST, AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC REVIEW



The water quality program of the department of ecology (ecology) is seeking public comment on the draft Assessment of Water Quality for the Clean Water Act Sections 303(d) and 305(b) Integrated Report. Ecology has compiled and assessed water quality data as of December 2006 on a statewide basis in order to create a picture of water quality in Washington's waters. The assessment fulfills reporting requirements of the Clean Water Act, including the list of known polluted waters in the state referred to as the Section 303(d) list, and a status of water quality in the state required by Section 305(b). Ecology is conducting a public review on the water quality assessment from February 5 through March 21, 2008. The public is asked to comment on the draft assessment.

The assessment is presented as a package of internet tools that includes interactive maps and lists that allow the user to customize and sort an area of interest by geographic location, pollutant parameter, degree of concern, and other factors. Informational workshops on how to access the information using the interactive mapping tool and simple query tool will be held in locations across Washington. Ecology staff will explain the draft and the public will have an opportunity to ask questions and share their thoughts with ecology staff and other participants.

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

Scheduled Workshops:

February 8 (Friday), Lacey, Department of Ecology, 300 Desmond Drive, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

February 11 (Monday), Yakima, Yakima Convention Center, 10 North 8th Street, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

February 12 (Tuesday), Spokane, Spokane Falls Community College, Student Union Building Conference Room, West 3410 Fort George Wright Drive, 835 21st Avenue, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

February 13 (Wednesday), Bellevue, Ecology Northwest Regional Office, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

If individuals or groups are interested in meeting with ecology at a time or location different from the workshops, please contact Ken Koch at (360) 407-6782 or by e-mail at 303d@ecy.wa.gov.

Ecology encourages the public to review waters that they are familiar with and provide comments on where they see problems or disagree with the assessment results. If the commenter disagrees with the assessment results, an explanation should be provided, and additional information submitted to support the finding.

The draft assessment can be found at www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/303d/2008/index.html. Paper copies are also available. The deadline for public comments is 5:00 p.m., Friday, March 21, 2008. Please submit comments in writing to the address below or at any of the public workshops.

What Happens After the Public Review? Ecology will review all comments and make changes to the preliminary list of categories as appropriate. After that, the final assessment will be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for review. EPA has the authority to approve or reject Category 5 listed waters, which is the equivalent of the Section 303(d) list. Each of the water bodies on the Category 5 list will need water quality improvement reports developed, also known as a total maximum daily loads or TMDLs. A TMDL identifies how much pollution needs to be reduced or eliminated to achieve clean water.

How do I Learn More? To learn more about the draft water quality assessment of Washington's waters, visit our web site at www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/303d/2008/index.html. Questions can also be addressed to Ken Koch at (360) 407-6782 or by e-mail at 303d@ecy.wa.gov.

To receive a paper copy of the draft policies, submit comments, or ask any other question about this process, please contact Becca Conklin, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, e-mail 303d@ecy.wa.gov, phone (360) 407-6413.

January 23, 2008

David C. Peeler

Water Quality Program Manager

Washington State Code Reviser's Office