Department of Ecology News Release - December 3, 2014

Industries to begin using updated permit to clean polluted stormwater

OLYMPIA – Polluted stormwater runoff is a problem at industrial sites, just like it is in urban settings. If not properly managed, stormwater can carry toxic contaminants into downstream waters, and harm fish, wildlife and the habitat they rely on.

The Washington Department of Ecology has updated the stormwater permit that protects lakes, rivers and Puget Sound from polluted runoff at industrial sites. The permit covers approximately 1,100 industrial facilities across the state, 70 percent of which are in the Puget Sound region. The updated permit goes into effect on Jan. 2, 2015.

Typical industries that need and use this permit include log yards, auto recyclers, marine terminals, and manufacturing facilities.

“Many facilities have invested in controlling sources of pollution and are improving their practices, and stormwater quality is improving because of this,” said Jeff Killelea, Ecology permit writer.

With the updates to the permit, certain facilities near cleanup sites around Puget Sound have additional pollution-prevention requirements. Examples include some sites in the Lower Duwamish Waterway in Seattle and some in the Thea Foss Waterway in Commencement Bay in Tacoma.

In addition, the permit incorporates new federal regulations for airport de-icing at facilities with 1,000 or more annual jet departures. It streamlines engineering reports when stormwater treatment systems are needed. And the permit requires electronic reporting, except in limited circumstances.

These changes aside, the updated permit is largely unchanged from the previous permit, Killelea said, adding that Ecology staff will continue to support the implementation of the permit through inspections, technical assistance and training.

Ecology convened a public process to update the permit and made changes based on comments received.

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Contacts:

Sandy Howard, communications, 360-407-6408, @ecologyWA