WSR 04-08-131


[ Filed April 7, 2004, 11:11 a.m. ]





Introduction: The final draft of the water treatment plant general permit and the fact sheet are available for review and comment. The Washington State Department of Ecology will host an informational workshop and public hearing on its proposal to reissue the water treatment plant general permit. Written comments on the permit and fact sheet may be submitted or oral comments can be given at the public hearing.

The draft permit is proposed to replace the existing permit that was issued December 3, 1997. Water treatment plants are a group of facilities that treat water to produce potable water (drinking water) and some treatment processes create wastewater as a byproduct. The primary discharge is backwash from the filters used in producing drinking water. Under federal and state water quality law, a permit is required for the discharge of this wastewater. The proposed general permit addresses these legal requirements and controls the discharge of pollutants to protect the water quality of waters in our state. Interested persons are encouraged to obtain a copy of the proposed permit and fact sheet and/or attend the workshop and hearing described below.

A general permit is like an individual wastewater discharge permit except that it addresses a group of facilities as a whole. It implements the Federal Clean Water Act and State Water Pollution Control Act in a single permit. Individual facilities that receive coverage under the general permit are required to comply with the terms and conditions of the permit. All water treatment plants statewide that discharge to surface water and meet the following criteria are eligible for coverage under this general permit:

Produce potable water or "industrial" water (primary treatment/settled water);
Discharge wastewater from water treatment filtration processes (filter backwash, sedimentation/presedimentation basin washwater, filter-to-waste); and
Have a maximum production capacity of 50,000 gallons a day or more of treated drinking water.
Permit Requirements: This general permit includes discharge limits for pH, settleable solids, and chlorine. Monitoring for temperature, trihalomethanes, and dissolved oxygen was dropped because the data from the first five years indicated there was no significant water quality concern with these parameters. An analysis of the chlorine data and receiving water conditions determined that there was a reasonable potential to violate water quality standards at critical discharge conditions. Therefore the allowable concentration of chlorine in the discharge was lowered to 0.07 mg/L.

The lower chlorine limit in the proposed permit will require some facilities to implement dechlorination. As before, small businesses will have a proportionately greater economic impact than large businesses but it is not expected to make a significant increase in the cost of operation for either large or small facilities. The permit provides a compliance schedule for implementing facility changes to comply with the lowered chlorine limit.

Requesting Copies of Permit: Copies of the proposed permit and fact sheet are available upon request. From the Internet: Contact ecology: Carey Cholski, United States mail address below, phone (360) 407-6279, fax (360) 407-6305, e-mail; or Keith Johnson, United States mail address below, phone (360) 407-6442, fax (360) 407-6426, e-mail

Submitting Comments: Ecology is seeking public comment on the proposed reissue of the water treatment plant general permit and fact sheet. Comments should reference specific text followed by proposed modification or concern when possible. Comments may address technical issues, accuracy and completeness of information, the scope of facilities proposed for coverage, adequacy of environmental protection and permit conditions, or any other concern that would result from issuance of this revised permit. If you wish to comment on the proposed permit you may send your written comments to this address:

Written comments should be mailed to Carey Cholski, Department of Ecology Southwest Region Office, P.O. Box 47775, Olympia, WA 98504-7775; or Keith Johnson, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600.

Written comments must be postmarked by midnight, Thursday, May 27, 2004. Comments may also be made by attending and testifying at the public hearing.

Attending the Workshop/Hearing: The public workshop and hearing on the proposed general permit will be held on May 24, 2004. The purpose of the workshop is to explain the general permit, what has changed from the previous permit, answer questions, and facilitate meaningful testimony during the hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to provide interested parties an opportunity to give formal oral testimony and comments on the proposed general permit. The workshop and hearing will be held at Washington State Department of Ecology, Headquarters Building, 300 Desmond Drive, Lacey, Washington.

The public workshop and hearing will begin at 2:30 p.m. and conclude as soon as public testimony is completed but no later than 5:00 p.m.

Issuing the Permit: Ecology expects to issue the general permit on June 16, 2004. It will be effective thirty days later. The final permit may, however, be modified based on the comments received and if changes represent a substantial departure from the scope or conditions in the original draft permit, another public notice of draft and comment period may ensue. When issued, a copy of the notice of issuance and ecology's responses to the comments will be sent to all persons who submitted written comment or gave public testimony.

Ecology is an equal opportunity agency. If you have special accommodation needs or require the fact sheet and proposed permit in an alternative format, please contact Carey Cholski at (360) 407-6279 or Keith Johnson at (360) 407-6442. You can also contact ecology using TDD (only) (360) 407-6006.

Legislature Code Reviser 


Washington State Code Reviser's Office