Department of Ecology News Release - September 9, 2015

Updating the sand and gravel permit to enhance water protections

OLYMPIA – In an effort to protect Washington’s lakes, rivers, groundwater and Puget Sound, updates are proposed for the water quality permit that regulates discharges from sand and gravel operations. Untreated discharge water from sand and gravel operations may harm fish, aquatic life and water quality.

In the updated Sand and Gravel General Permit, the Washington Department of Ecology proposes to include new requirements for how to manage water that drains off piles of recycled concrete.

The use of recycled concrete is growing as more construction projects save money and resources by crushing and reusing concrete. The runoff is highly alkaline, posing a threat to aquatic life and water health.

Other proposed changes include reformatting to make the permit easier to read and understand.

For those interested in participating in the permit review process, there are several ways to get involved. Workshops followed by public hearings are scheduled at the following times:

If you’re unable to attend one of the workshops in person, visit Ecology’s website for how to participate in an online webinar, and how to submit comments. Comments are being accepted until Oct. 23.

The Sand and Gravel General Permit covers approximately 900 sites across the state, including  rock quarries and similar mining operations, as well as concrete batch operations, hot mix asphalt operations, and sites that stockpile mined materials.

Ecology expects the permit changes to go into effect in January 2016.

Contact:

Andrew Wineke, communications, 360-407-6149, @ecologyWA