Washington Asks for Comment on Industrial Permit

One of the state’s key tools to curb polluted runoff at industrial facilities is getting updated, and the Washington Department of Ecology is asking the public and all interested parties to review the changes.

The Industrial Stormwater General Permit regulates polluted runoff, or stormwater, that is associated with industrial activities. A new, proposed permit is available for public review through July 15.

The industrial stormwater general permit regulates industrial facilities that discharge stormwater (rain runoff) into surface waters and into storm sewers that lead to Puget Sound, other marine waters, and Washington’s wetlands, creeks, rivers, and lakes. It covers a wide array of industry sectors, including lumber, paper, printing, chemicals, petroleum, leather, metals, landfills, transportation, mills, and food products.

Approximately 70 percent of industrial stormwater general permit holders discharge stormwater in the 12 counties that border Puget Sound. Ecology regulates approximately 1,200 industrial facilities in Washington through the permit.

In writing the new permit, Ecology collaborated with representatives from industries the permit regulates and environmental groups. A major goal of the revised permit is to streamline and simplify reporting without compromising environmental safeguards.

Ecology re-issued the current permit in August 2008, which remains in effect until the revised permit is finalized. The agency expects to have a final permit in place by October.

For a copy of the proposed permit, contact Julie Robertson, 360.407.6575 or send e-mail to jrob461@ecy.wa.gov.

The state agency will hold one public hearing and several workshops on the draft general permit. The purpose of the hearing is to provide an opportunity for people to give formal oral testimony and comments on the draft permit. The purpose of the workshops is to explain the proposed changes to the new permit. The times, dates and locations are:

  • 1 p.m., June 19 workshop, Vancouver City Council Chambers, 210 East 13th St.
  • 1 p.m., June 24 workshop, Moses Lake Fire Station, 701 E. Third St.
  • 9 a.m., June 26 workshop, PUD No. 1 of Skagit County, 1415 Freeway Dr., Mount Vernon.
  • 1 p.m., July 13 workshop and public hearing, Pierce County Library System, Room C, 3005 112th St. E, Tacoma.