Chapter 173-321 WAC
Public Participation Grants
Under Chapter 70.105D RCW, Ecology administers a program for grants to "persons who may be adversely affected by a release
or threatened release of a hazardous substance and not-for-profit public interest groups". Grants are used to "facilitate
public participation in the investigation and remediation of a release or threatened release of a hazardous substance and
to implement the state's solid and hazardous waste management priorities."
Why are we doing this rulemaking?
In 2016, Ecology obtained an independent audit of our Public Participation Grants program. The current process requires a
significant amount of time and agency resources to establish applicant eligibility and award the grants. Changes Ecology is
considering are either specific audit recommendations or based on the agency’s experiences implementing the program. Clarifying
applicant eligibility, establishing priorities, updating and making application evaluation criteria more visible will result
in a more streamlined process. Ecology will also investigate the best approach to incorporating environmental justice as a
criterion for grant awards. This may result in updated rule language. Updating the rule now will allow us to apply these
changes to grants awarded in the 2017-19 biennium.
Scope of rule development
Ecology plans to:
Process of development
- Revise the grant application process to authorize electronic submittals;
- Evaluate and possibly revise eligibility requirements;
- Clarify the criteria used to evaluate applications;
- Evaluate and possibly revise eligible costs;
- Develop a method for renewing grants annually per Chapter 70.105D RCW;
- Streamline the grant application and evaluation process to increase consistency, transparency, objectivity, and efficiency;
- Update grant administration requirements;
- Align Chapter 173-321 WAC to current program needs;
- Incorporate clear consideration of environmental justice in the program.
Ecology will periodically update these web pages to provide up-to-date information about this rulemaking. We will notify interested
parties through the agency email listserv (WAC Track), a Waste 2 Resources ListServ specifically established for the Public Participation
Grants program. We will e-mail contacts identified in our grants-related database and those identified by grants staff. We will
publish notice in the Washington State Register as we move through the process. During rule development we will be working with an
advisory committee. We will hold two public meetings to explain changes Ecology plans, prior to making a formal rule proposal. To
learn more about how to contact Ecology and participate in the process, please visit our