WSR 09-15-174


[ Filed July 21, 2009, 3:52 p.m. ]


The water quality program of the department of ecology (ecology) is seeking public input of water quality data and information for updating Washington's water quality assessment, which includes the Section 303(d) list of impaired waters.

Section 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act requires Washington state to periodically 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. The last 303(d) list was prepared in 2008. Ecology is changing the schedule for conducting the water quality assessment for the next listing cycle. Rather than assessing all waters every two years, ecology is moving to assessments of marine waters and freshwaters in alternating two year cycles. The first split list will be an assessment of all marine water data received by October 15, 2009. This assessment will result in submittal of the 2010 candidate 303(d) list for marine waters to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Ecology's 2010 assessment will be based on the most recent state water quality standards approved by EPA (WAC 201A [chapter 173-201A WAC], 2006 version and chapter 173-204 WAC) and the state's assessment policies:

Program Policy 1-11, Chapter 1, Assessment of Water Quality for the Clean Water Act Sections 303(d) and 305(b) Integrated Report and
Program Policy 1-11, Chapter 2, Ensuring Credible Data for Water Quality Management

These guidance policies are available on ecology's web site at

Ecology is seeking new data during this "call for data." If any data was submitted to ecology for previous 303(d) lists it does not need to be submitted again. Ecology will only use high quality data for the 303(d) assessment. All data submitted must have been collected in accordance with a quality assurance plan or approved sediment sampling and analysis plan. The person submitting the data must document that such a plan was followed, and must provide ecology with a copy of the plan upon request. Data must be representative of the ambient water quality conditions to be useful for assessing the segment.

Numeric water quality data must be submitted into ecology's environmental information management (EIM) database to be used for the assessment. Narrative information that provides conclusive evidence that a beneficial water use is being impaired must be submitted directly to the water quality program at the address provided below. Ecology notes that numeric data can be submitted directly into EIM on a continual basis, and encourages entities to do so. If you are new to EIM, you are encouraged to begin the submission process for new data prior to September 15, 2009, to enhance the probability of inclusion in the October 15, 2009, data retrieval for marine waters.

Information on EIM is available on ecology's web site at or for sediment specific data submittal requirements. Ecology is also providing training workshops to demonstrate the use of EIM for data submittal. The locations and times available are posted on the water quality assessment web site at

Because space is limited for the EIM training, please contact Becca Conklin at (360) 407-6413 to reserve a place at your desired location, or send an e-mail to

More details about the water quality assessment process, including assistance with submitting data, quality assurance requirements, and training workshop information, can be found at

The deadline for submitting data for consideration in the next marine water quality assessment is 5:00 p.m., October 15, 2009.

The segmentation system for the 2010 marine assessment will be the same one used in the 2008 assessment. Lakes and marine areas are defined by a rectangular grid sized at 45 seconds longitude by 45 seconds latitude (approximately 2,460 feet by 3,650 feet).

Ecology takes this opportunity to also notify the public that the segmentation system for freshwater rivers and streams will be changing from the Township, Range and Section boundary-defined segments used during earlier assessments. New information from USGS/EPA will be used to display freshwater segments using the 1:24K National Hydrography Dataset. Examples of the resulting segment/pollutant listings will be presented in a draft form during the 2010 WQA process but will not be submitted to EPA for approval until new data is included in the freshwater assessment scheduled for the 2012 assessment cycle.

To ask any questions about the water quality assessment process, submit narrative information, or for further assistance in submitting data, please contact Ken Koch, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, phone (360) 407-6782, e-mail

July 21, 2009

Kelly Susewind, P.E., P.G.

Water Quality Program Manager

Washington State Code Reviser's Office