WSR 02-11-103


[ Filed May 20, 2002, 11:21 a.m. ]



The water quality program of the Department of Ecology (ecology) is seeking public comment on draft revisions to Program Policy 1-11, Assessment of Water Quality for the Section 303(d) List.

Section 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act requires Washington state periodically to prepare a list of all surface waters in the state for which beneficial uses of the water - such as for drinking, recreation, aquatic habitat, and industrial use - are impaired by pollutants. This list was last prepared in 1998. Ecology is now beginning the process to prepare the 2002 list.

Ecology's assessment of which waters to place on the 303(d) list is guided by federal laws, state water quality standards, and the state's 303(d) policy. This policy describes how the standards are applied, requirements for the data used, and how to prioritize TMDLs, among other issues.

This policy was last used to guide the 303(d) assessment in 1998. An updated policy has been prepared in response to new guidance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and to better refine and explain the assessment process. Significant changes in the updated policy since 1998 include:

New categories to better reflect conditions and circumstances of different waters.

Extended waterbody segments, to address data collected across segment boundaries.

Changes in data quality assurance requirements.

More detailed explanation of the assessment process and criteria.

Changes in how the water quality standards are applied to temperature, dissolved oxygen, and some other pollutants.

The draft policy can be found at. Paper copies are also available. The deadline for public comments is 5:00 p.m., Monday, July 8, 2002. Please submit comments in writing to the address below, or at any of the public workshops.

Ecology will host public workshops in eight cities across Washington to discuss the draft updated 303(d) policy. Ecology staff will explain the draft policy and the full 303(d) assessment process, and the public will have an opportunity to ask questions and informally share their thoughts with ecology staff and other participants. Participants should also formally submit any comments they have in writing.

The workshops will be held twice each day: 2:00-4:00 p.m. and 6:00-8:00 p.m. Each workshop will be the same, so it is only necessary to attend one. The public workshops will be held in the following cities:

City Date Location
Spokane June 5 Spokane County Cooperative Extension, Room E, North 222 Havana Street
Yakima June 6 Department of Ecology, Central Region Office, 15 West Yakima Avenue, Suite 200
Vancouver June 10 Department of Ecology, Vancouver Field Office, 2108 Grand Boulevard
Wenatchee June 12 Wenatchee Valley College, Wells Hall, Campus Theater, 1300 Fifth Street
Walla Walla June 13 Walla Walla Community College, Main Building, Room 185A, 500 Tausick Way
Bellevue June 19 Department of Ecology, Northwest Region Office, 3190 160th Avenue S.E.
Bellingham June 20 Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Avenue
Lacey June 27 Department of Ecology, Headquarters/Southwest Region Office, 300 Desmond Drive

To receive a paper copy of the draft updated 303(d) policy, submit comments on it, find out more about the 303(d) list, or ask any other question about this process, please contact Matthew Green, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, e-mail, phone (360) 407-6386.

May 14, 2002

Megan White, P.E.

Program Manager

Water Quality Program

Washington State Code Reviser's Office