Washington to Re-issue Stormwater Permit until New One Developed

The Washington Department of Ecology proposes to re-issue its current industrial stormwater general permit through April 30, 2009, while it engages the regulated and environmental communities in developing a simpler and more effective permit, according to an Aug. 7 press release.

Ecology will accept public comments about the permit re-issue until Sept. 12.

The industrial stormwater general permit regulates industrial facilities that discharge stormwater into surface waters and into storm sewers that lead to Puget Sound, other marine waters, and Washington's rivers and major lakes. It covers a wide array of industry sectors, including lumber, paper, printing, chemicals, petroleum, leather, stone, metals, ships, landfills, transportation, mills, and food.

Approximately 70 percent of industrial stormwater general permit holders discharge stormwater in the 12 counties that border Puget Sound. Ecology regulates approximately 1,150 industrial facilities in Washington through the permit.

The agency's collaborative work to revise the permit will address a broad range of compliance barriers, including stormwater research and development, education and outreach, technical assistance, compliance inspections, and enforcement.

Ecology expects to issue a revised permit sometime within the next year. The agency will schedule another public comment period for that action.

The permit and fact sheet are online at: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/stormwater/industrial/index.html. Contact Julie Robertson, 360- 407-6575, jrob461@ecy.wa.gov to request copies.

A public workshop and hearing on the permit will be at 1 p.m. Sept. 11 at the state agency's headquarters building, 300 Desmond Dr., Lacey, telephone 360-407-6000.

Written and oral comments will be accepted on the draft industrial stormwater general permit and fact sheet. Comments should reference specific text when possible and may address technical issues; accuracy and completeness of information; the scope of facilities proposed for coverage; adequacy of environmental protection and permit conditions; and any other concern.

Comments may be submitted by e-mail, industrialstormwatercomments@ecy.wa.gov.