Department of Ecology News Release - March 16, 2016

Updating the water quality permit for boatyards
Ecology invites public comments on the permit updates

OLYMPIA – Boatyards do a lot of important but dirty work to repair and maintain boats, such as pressure washing, painting, engine repair, welding and grinding. This work can release chemicals such as copper, lead and zinc, and if the chemicals get into waterways they can harm aquatic life and are difficult and expensive to remove.

In an effort to protect the environment, the Washington Department of Ecology is updating the water quality permit that requires boatyards to control toxic stormwater and wastewater discharges. The Boatyard General Permit applies to approximately 70 boatyards in Western Washington.

The updated permit will have new discharge limits for lead from boatyards located on Lake Union and the Lake Washington Ship Canal. These waters fail to meet water quality standards for lead and recent monitoring shows persisting lead pollution.

Lead contamination is an environmental problem because once it gets into the food chain, it can cause harm to people, animals and aquatic life.

The updated permit would also end paper reports on required water quality monitoring. Permitted boatyards would submit the information electronically.

Ecology invites public comments on the proposed changes through April 29. The draft permit is posted on Ecology’s website.

Dates, times and locations of public hearings:

EVERETT - In-person public workshop/hearing
    1 p.m. Tuesday, April 19
    Everett Community College – Corporate & Continuing Education Center
    2333 Seaway Boulevard, Everett

WEBINAR – Attend in person or online
    1 p.m. Wednesday, April 20
    Washington State Department of Ecology
    300 Desmond Drive, Lacey
    Sign up for the webinar online.

Contact:

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