Department of Ecology News Release - August 1, 2016

Ecology has adopted the state's new fish consumption rule. The rule updates Washington's water quality standards for toxics, establishing how clean our lakes, rivers and marine waters need to be. (NOAA photo)Ecology has adopted the state's new fish consumption rule. The rule updates Washington's water quality standards for toxics, establishing how clean our lakes, rivers and marine waters need to be. (NOAA photo)

State adopts new clean water rule
Protects health of Washington's people and economy

OLYMPIA – Following extensive outreach, the Department of Ecology today adopted a water quality rule that safeguards the health of Washington’s people and its economy.

The fish consumption rule, as it is widely known, updates Washington’s water quality standards for toxics, establishing how clean our lakes, rivers and marine waters need to be. The standards set pollution limits for businesses and municipalities that discharge wastewater. They are based, in part, on the amount of toxics contained in the fish that people eat from Washington waters and are required by the federal Clean Water Act.

Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its own draft rule for Washington. EPA would be required to adopt its rule if the state failed to complete a rule.

“We believe our new rule is strong, yet reasonable. It sets standards that are protective and achievable,” said Ecology Director Maia Bellon. “With this rule now complete, we will continue to press forward to reduce and eliminate toxics from every-day sources.”

“The EPA has indicated its preference for a Washington-led rule and we believe we have developed a rule that EPA can approve,” Bellon added.

Today, Ecology sent the new state rule to EPA for approval. Under the federal Clean Water Act, EPA has 60 days to approve, or 90 days to disapprove, the state rule.

Facts at a glance about new rule

Contact:

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