WSR 15-06-049
[Filed March 2, 2015, 2:56 p.m.]
The department of ecology (ecology) is seeking public comment on the draft Washington State Water Quality Assessment (the assessment). The assessment fulfills Washington state's obligation under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) §303(d) and §305(b) to identify polluted waters (known as the 303(d) list) as well as report on the status of water quality statewide where data is available.
Ecology is conducting a public review on the assessment from March 17 – May 15, 2015. The public is asked to comment on listing decisions for freshwater bodies in the draft assessment. For information on access to the public review version of the assessment, go to the web site at
For the draft assessment, ecology gathered and analyzed water quality data received through 2010 for freshwaters (e.g., streams, rivers, and lakes) located throughout the state. Ecology has also started using an improved water-based mapping system to define segments of freshwater bodies in the assessment. This provides a hydrologic water-based approach to describing water body segments.
The draft assessment is presented as an internet-based search tool and a mapping application that allow the user to investigate water quality in an area of interest through a customized search based on features such as county, water body name, and pollutant. Each potential pollutant for a water body segment is assigned to one of five major water quality categories in accordance with: The amount of available data; whether the pollutant is a problem; and the status of clean-up efforts. The map tool also enables a user to compare the extent of water body segments in the previous water quality assessment to the extent of segments in this draft assessment.
Ecology encourages the public to review freshwaters they are familiar with and provide comments on the draft assessment conclusions. If a reviewer disagrees with an assessment result, please provide specific comments and supporting information to us.
The deadline for public comments is 5:00 p.m., Friday, May 15, 2015. Please submit comments through the online comment form provided on the internet review tool, by e-mail, or in writing to the address below.
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 assessment will be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA has the authority to approve or reject the list of waters with a Category 5 designation (i.e. the 303(d) list portion of the assessment). Each approved Category 5 listing will need to have a pollution clean-up plan developed (also known as total maximum daily load (TMDL)). A TMDL quantifies the amount of a given pollutant that a water body segment can receive and still meet water quality standards. A TMDL is used to plan and implement efforts to reduce water pollution.
How do I Learn More? Ecology will hold public workshops from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the following locations:
April 7, Edmonds
Edmonds Conference Center
Chrysanthemum Hall
201 Fourth Avenue North
Edmonds, 98020
April 9, Lacey
Ecology Headquarters Building
300 Desmond Drive
Lacey, 98503
April 15, Yakima
Yakima Area Arboretum
1401 Arboretum Drive
Yakima, 98901
April 16, Spokane
Spokane Centerplace Regional Events Center
2426 North Discovery Place
Spokane Valley, 99216
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 Patrick Lizon, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, e-mail, phone (360) 407-6782.
March 2, 2015
Heather R. Bartlett
Water Quality Program Manager