Department of Ecology News Release - December 28, 2012

12-411

Clallam County, Ecology provide guidance, plan workshop to help building permit applicants comply with Dungeness rule

OLYMPIA - Beginning Tuesday, Jan.2, 2013 — the effective date of the new Dungeness water management rule — the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) and Clallam County are offering guidance to building permit applicants on how to obtain mitigation water required under the rule for new rural homes and building projects.

The new water management rule protects water supplies for current and future uses in the Sequim area for the benefit of people, community development, agriculture, and fish. The rule requires that new groundwater withdrawals be offset or mitigated starting on Jan. 2. Mitigation credits (senior water rights or portions of senior water rights) must be obtained before new uses of groundwater can begin in areas affected by the rule. Applications for the mitigation credits will be available beginning Jan. 2.

To help building permit applicants meet the new mitigation requirements, Ecology has been working with Clallam County to establish the Dungeness Water Exchange, commonly called a “water bank.” The exchange will be operated by the nonprofit Washington Water Trust (WWT). Mitigation certificates issued by the exchange ensure new water uses will not harm stream flows.

Ecology is also providing Clallam County with a $100,000 grant to provide financial assistance for building permit applicants who seek mitigation credits for indoor household water uses. The grant provides mitigation funds from January through June of 2013.

Well owners with a building permit issued or new water use established prior to the Jan. 2 effective date of the rule do not need to meet the mitigation requirements.

Later in January, Clallam County and Ecology will host an open house followed by a public workshop on how to secure mitigation credits for building permits. People with site-specific questions are encouraged to attend the open house and discuss their issues one-on-one with the county, Ecology, and WWT. The workshop will include a presentation followed by questions and answers. The workshop date will be announced soon.

Property owners with questions on how to comply with the new Dungeness rule should contact:

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Media Contacts:

Dan Partridge, 360-407-7139, dan.partridge@ecy.wa.gov

Linda Kent, 360-407-6239, linda.kent@ecy.wa.gov

For more information:

Instream-flows and the Dungeness (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/instream-flows/dungeness.html)

Ecology’s social media (www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html)