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Triennial Review Process for the Surface Water Quality Standards

Results of 2010 Triennial Review

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Status of the 2010 Triennial Review

The latest triennial review for the surface Water Quality Standards for Washington State was held from November 1, 2010 through December 17, 2010. Public hearings were held at several locations in the state. Comments were received from 44 entities. Ecology reviewed all comments received during the comment period and developed a Five Year Plan of prioritized topics. A responsiveness summary was also created based on comments received, including Ecology’s response to each comment.

What is the Triennial Review?

Federal regulations require that states hold public hearings at least once every three years to review applicable surface water quality standards and, as appropriate, adopt new or modified standards. This process is called a triennial review.

The Triennial Review provides an opportunity to discuss the priorities and commitments the agency makes with EPA and others regarding the surface water quality standards. Ecology, then places activities (guidance development, research needs or rulemaking) on schedules that match their complexity, rather than trying to force them into a three-year cycle.

Overview of the process

Selection of rulemaking topics

This approach allows the topics that are chosen for new or revised guidance or for rulemaking to be based on the relative environmental value of each topic and our ability to complete the project. For example, we may find that we can complete four moderate-value projects in the same time as one large-value project, and thus have greater overall benefits. This approach also allows Ecology to consider the costs and benefits of an action and select the least costly course of action. The purpose of making only short-term formal commitments is to avoid over-commitment and to keep the process flexible enough to respond to new priorities developed through the Triennial Review process.

 

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Last updated August 2011