PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
Subject of Possible Rule Making: This rule making addresses corrections and clarifications to the text of chapter 173-201A WAC, the water quality standards for surface waters of the state of Washington.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 90.48.035 provides clear and direct authority to ecology to revise the water quality standards. Additionally, 40 C.F.R. 131.20 requires states and tribes (with primacy for clean water actions) to periodically review and update the water quality standards.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: Portions of the surface water quality standards (chapter 173-201A WAC) contain text or tables that need correction or clarification. Adopting these changes will make the rule more accurate and easier to understand by correcting and clarifying sections which have caused confusion for some stakeholders.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: Developing and administering surface water quality standards to protect water quality and meet objectives of the federal Clean Water Act is a unique responsibility assigned to the department of ecology in chapter 90.48 RCW.
Process for Developing New Rule: This is an amendment to chapter 173-201A WAC, Water quality standards for surface waters of the state of Washington. The process includes public hearings held around the state of Washington. Ecology plans to involve local interest groups with one-on-one meetings and use media to notify the public. Ecology will use all these public activities to clearly explain the updated rule to interested parties. Additionally, the agency's goal is to educate the public on surface water quality standards and why the rule needs to be amended. We plan to actively seek public input on the proposed rule amended language.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Becca Conklin, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, phone (360) 407-6413, fax (360) 407-6426, e-mail SWQS@ecy.wa.gov.
Interested parties can access more information on this rule making by contacting the department of ecology staff member listed above or by accessing the water quality program surface water quality standards activities web site at www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/swqs/rule_rev-timeline.html.
Ecology will share information on the agency web site and through a listserv. Join our listserv at http://listserv.wa.gov/cgi-bin/wa?A0=ECOLOGY-WATER-QUALITY-INFO.
July 28, 2010