WSR 99-04-063

DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY


[ Filed February 1, 1999, 11:43 a.m. ]


PUBLIC NOTICE OF DRAFT

PUBLIC HEARINGS AND DRAFT GENERAL PERMIT FOR THE

REISSUANCE OF THE FRESH FRUIT PACKING INDUSTRY NPDES

WASTEWATER DISCHARGE GENERAL PERMIT



INTRODUCTION: The Washington State Department of Ecology (the department) proposes to reissue the fresh fruit packing industry national pollutant discharge elimination system waste discharge general permit (the permit). This permit regulates the discharge of process and stormwater from fresh fruit packing facilities to waters of the state, land application, and publicly owned treatment works. It is being reissued in accordance with the requirements of chapter 90.48 RCW and chapter 173-226 WAC.

PUBLIC WORKSHOPS AND HEARINGS: The department will hold two public workshops and hearings concerning the reissuance of this permit. The purpose of the workshops is to review the proposed changes, to answer questions, and to discuss ideas and concerns before formal testimony is given in the hearings. The purpose of the hearings is to provide interested parties an opportunity to state for the record their opinions and comments on the proposed reissuance. The workshops and hearings will be held at the following times and locations:

WHENTuesday, March 23, 1999Thursday,

March 25, 1999

WHEREWashington State

Department of Ecology

Central Regional Office

15 West Yakima Avenue

Suite 200

Yakima, WA

Wenatchee Public Library

310 Douglas

Wenatchee, WA

ROOMWaterfall Room

(Second Floor)

Auditorium
TIME: Workshop Hearing3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Begins at 4:00 p.m.

3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Begins at 4:00 p.m.

Persons needing special accommodations should contact Steven Huber at the Ecology Central Regional Office listed below.

IDENTIFICATION OF FACILITIES AND GEOGRAPHIC AREA COVERED: For the purposes of this permit, the state's fresh fruit packing industry is defined as those commercial facilities which receive, pack, store, and/or ship either hard or soft fruit. Although, the industry is located primarily in the state's centralized fruit growing region along the Columbia, Yakima, Wenatchee, and Okanogan rivers, the permit is valid for the entire state of Washington (the state).

Every new or existing fresh fruit packing facility within the state which engages in any of these activities and has a wastewater discharge must apply for coverage under this general permit. Individual permits will still be applied in those instances where ecology determines the general permit is not appropriate for that facility. Dischargers authorized by the general permit may request to be excluded from coverage under the general permit by applying for and being issued, upon department approval, an individual permit. The current permit is due to expire on March 4, 1999. However, the new permit will tentatively be issued in June 1999. Facilities with coverage under the current general permit who submit an application for renewal prior to the expiration date will have their coverage under the existing permit administratively extended until the new permit is issued. Permit coverage will expire for those facilities failing to submit an application in a timely manner.

FURTHER INFORMATION: The proposed general permit, fact sheet, application for coverage, small business economic impact statement and summary, and other related documents are on file and may be inspected and copied between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., weekdays at the ecology location below. Copies of the documents will be sent to interested parties upon request. For further information contact: Steven Huber, General Permit Manager, Washington State Department of Ecology, Central Regional Office, 15 West Yakima Avenue, Suite 200, Yakima, WA 98902, phone (509) 454-7298, fax (509) 575-2809, e-mail shub461@ecy.wa.gov.

HOW AND WHEN TO SUBMIT COMMENTS: Comments on the permit may be submitted at the hearings either as oral testimony or in writing. Interested persons are also invited to submit written comments regarding the proposed general permit. All written comments must be received at the Ecology Central Regional Office address above by 5 p.m., March 30, 1999 to be considered in the final determination of this reissuance.

TENTATIVE DETERMINATION TO ISSUE THE GENERAL PERMIT: Ecology has tentatively determined to reissue this general permit to discharge to public waters, subject to certain effluent limitations, best management practices, and special permit conditions. A final determination will not be made until all comments received pursuant to this notice have been evaluated. This notice will be published in the Yakima Herald-Republic and the Wenatchee Daily World on February 17, 1999.

All comments received at the public hearings or by March 30, 1999, will be considered before final permit terms, limitations, and conditions are established. A responsiveness summary will be prepared and available for public review. If the final content of the general permit remains substantially unchanged from the draft permit available at the time this public notice is published, a copy of the final determination in the form of a public notice of issuance shall be forwarded to all persons who submitted written comment or gave public testimony regarding the permit. However, if the final determination is substantially changed, another public notice of draft permit shall be published.

SUMMARY OF THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF CHANGES TO THE PERMIT: With the exception of one change, all of the proposed changes to the permit result in either no new economic impact or a reduction in costs to the industry. The addition of whole effluent toxicity testing for surface water discharges of noncontact cooling water containing additives will result in a new one-time additional cost of about $500 per facility to the approximately thirty facilities with this type of discharge. However, this additional cost is more than off-set by the reduced monitoring costs for these same facilities.

Ecology is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. For special accommodation needs or requirements for this document in an alternate format, please contact Steve Huber at (509) 454-7298 or TDD (only) (509) 454-7673.

Washington State Code Reviser's Office