Department of Ecology requesting information for next WA Water Quality Assessment

The Water Quality Program of the Department of Ecology (Ecology) is seeking public input on the next Water Quality Assessment for Washington waters in order to start the process of submitting the next “Integrated Report” to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to meet federal Clean Water Act (CWA) requirements under Sections 303(d) and 305(b). This notice does two things:

1. Initiates a public “call for data” to seek new water quality data and information for fresh and marine waters in Washington. This new data and information will be used for updating Washington’s next Water Quality Assessment. The “call for data” is open-ended at this time.

2. Conducts a 60-day scoping process to solicit all stakeholder and tribal ideas about areas they think should be revised or clarified in Water Quality Policy 1-11, Assessment of Water Quality for the Clean Water Act Sections 303(d) and 305(b) Integrated Report. Policy 1-11 guides how Ecology assesses data on waterbody segments and makes listings decisions on the water quality status. Ecology is conducting this scoping process because we have already received feedback from some stakeholders on Policy 1-11 and we want to make sure all interested stakeholders have the opportunity to provide feedback on areas of the listing policy that may need revision. Ecology will conduct a more comprehensive stakeholder process for Policy 1-11 updates to further discuss ideas received after the scoping period. Comments may be submitted by mail or email using the contact information listed below. The deadline for getting public feedback on the scoping process for Policy 1-11 is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 1, 2016.

A full description of these requests for information can be found in the State Register notice filed on January 20, 2016. More details about this next Water Quality Assessment process can be found at: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/303d/2016index.html.

Washington’s 2014 Water Quality Assessment and candidate 303(d) List was submitted to EPA on September 2015. It is anticipated that EPA will take an approval action on the 2014 Assessment by the end of March 2016.

Questions about the water quality assessment process, or requests for assistance in submitting data and information should be directed to:

Patrick Lizon, Department of Ecology
PO Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600
Phone: (360) 407-6782; E-mail: 303d@ecy.wa.gov