WSR 11-12-061


[ Filed May 27, 2011, 2:11 p.m. ]





The water quality program of the department of ecology (ecology) is seeking public comment on the draft Washington State Water Quality Assessment (the assessment) for the Clean Water Act, Sections 303(d) and 305(b) integrated report. Ecology compiled and assessed marine water quality data as of October 2009, on a statewide basis in order to create a picture of water quality of the marine waters in Washington state. The assessment fulfills reporting requirements of the Clean Water Act, including the list of known polluted waters in the state referred to as the Section 303(d) list, and a status of water quality in the state required by Section 305(b). Ecology is conducting a public review on the 2010 water quality assessment from June 16 through August 16, 2011. The public is asked to comment on listing decisions for marine water and sediment quality locations in the draft assessment.

For information on access to the public review version of the assessment, consult the web site at

The assessment is presented as a package of internet tools that includes interactive maps and lists that allow the user to customize and sort an area of interest by geographic location, pollutant parameter, degree of concern, and other factors. The assessment is organized by water bodies into different categories, characterized by the attainment of designated uses. There are five major categories, ranging from clean to polluted.

Ecology encourages the public to review marine waters they are familiar with, and provide comments on where they see problems or disagree with the assessment results. If the commenter disagrees with the assessment results, an explanation should be provided, and additional information submitted to support the finding.

The deadline for public comments is 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, August 16, 2011. Please submit comments by e-mail at, or in writing to the address below.

Another candidate 303(d) list for freshwaters is planned for 2012 as we implement an alternating schedule of marine and freshwater quality assessments. A public call for data for the 2012 freshwater assessment will occur this summer starting in July 2011. A reminder for the public call for data will appear later this month. Look for a separate notice in the next edition of the state register.

What Happens After the Public Review? Ecology will review all comments and make changes to the preliminary list of categories as appropriate. After that, the final assessment will be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for review. EPA has the authority to approve or reject the Category 5 list of waters, which is the equivalent of the Section 303(d) list. Each of the water bodies in the Category 5 list will need water quality improvement reports developed, also known as total maximum daily loads or TMDLs.

How do I Learn More? Ecology will hold public meetings during July 2011, in Lacey and Seattle. Ecology will explain the draft, and the public will have an opportunity to ask questions and share their thoughts with ecology staff and other participants. For the meeting dates and locations, and to learn more about the draft water quality assessment of Washington's waters, visit our web site at

To submit comments or ask any other question about this process, please contact Ken Koch, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, e-mail, phone (360) 407-6782.

May 27, 2011

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

Water Quality Program Manager

Washington State Code Reviser's Office