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Underground Storage Tank Rule-making

Sediment removal

April 2, 2013

Ecology schedules final Sediment Cleanup Advisory Committee meeting

Ecology adopted the Sediment Management Standards rule revisions on February 22, 2013. Ecology recognizes that adoption of the SMS rule is an important milestone, but more implementation work must be done to be successful with the revised rule.  Ecology plans to re-convene the Sediment Cleanup Advisory Committee for three purposes:

  • Describe the SMS rule revisions and explain why certain decisions were made.
  • Obtain feedback from the committee on the content of the draft guidance regarding what will be most useful in implementing the SMS rule revisions.
  • Personally thank the committee members for working with Ecology over the last several years.
WHEN:     Thursday April 11, 2013
                 9 AM – 1 PM

WHERE:    Fabulich Center
                3600 Port of Tacoma Road
                Tacoma, WA 98424

Similar to past advisory committee meetings, this meeting will be open to the public to participate as audience members. You may view the agenda and meeting materials here.   Ecology will set aside time for the audience to ask questions at the end of each discussion session.  An agenda and materials will be posted here ahead of the meeting.

February 26, 2013

Ecology adopts amendments to the Sediment Management Standards

Ecology adopted amendments to the Sediment Management Standards (SMS) rule on February 22, 2013. See more information about the adopted rule and related documents

A public comment period was held on the proposed changes from August 15 through October 29, 2012. Ecology considered all comments received and modified the rule language as appropriate. The adopted amendments:

  1. Integrate the SMS and Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA), Chapter 173-340 WAC, cleanup requirements where appropriate.
  2. Clarify requirements for protection of human health from sediment contamination.
  3. Clarify requirements for protection of higher trophic level species from sediment contamination.
  4. Promulgate numeric chemical and biological criteria for freshwater sediment to protect the benthic community.
  5. Clarify requirements for coordinating source control and cleanup actions at cleanup sites.

The changes will be announced in the Washington State Register on March 20, 2013, and become effective on September 1, 2013. Until that date, the original rule is in effect.

November 30, 2012

Ecology reviewing comments for proposed amendments to the Sediment Management Standards.

The public comment period for proposed revisions to the Sediment Management Standards (SMS) rule has ended.  Ecology is currently reviewing and responding to comments, and will revise the rule appropriately.  Ecology expects to adopt the rule in 2013.


October 10, 2012

Ecology extends the public comment period for the proposed amendments to the Sediment Management Standards.

The Department of Ecology has decided to extend the public comment period for the proposed revisions to the Sediment Management Rule.  The current public comment period started Aug. 15, 2012, and was slated to end Oct. 15, 2012.
Ecology is extending the ending date by two weeks to Oct. 29 in response to requests for more time to comment. 
Ecology will review, consider and respond to all comments. The proposed rule revisions may be modified based on public comments. Ecology expects to adopt the rule in late 2012 or early 2013.

August 15, 2012

Ecology published the Sediment Management Standards proposed amendments for public comment

The CR-102 for the Sediment Management Standards (SMS) Chapter 173-204 WAC was filed on August 15, 2012. The public is invited to review and comment on the proposed rule amendments until October 29, 2012.  For more information and to review and provide comment on the proposed amendments click here.
Ecology is revising the SMS to clarify requirements for cleanup of contaminated sediment sites to make the cleanup process more effective. The proposed amendments include:
  • Clarifying requirements for cleanup of bioaccumulative chemicals that pose risks to human health and the environment. Examples of such chemicals include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins/furans, and mercury.

  • Integrating the cleanup requirements in the SMS and Model Toxics Control Act rules. The Model Toxics Control Act is the state’s cleanup law that focuses mainly on upland cleanup.

  • Adopting freshwater standards to protect animals that live in and on sediments.

Ecology recently completed an updated guidance document for sediment cleanup.   This draft guidance is intended to help reviewers understand how the proposed rule amendments will be implemented but is not part of the formal public comment process.     

The proposed SMS rule amendments do not include a revised, default fish consumption rate for sediment cleanup. Ecology heard a number of concerns about identifying a specific rate, including questions about how it could impact a separate process to update water quality standards. After reviewing public comments, Ecology decided to clarify requirements to specify that site-specific cleanups be designed using a “reasonable maximum exposure” standard. This is based on protecting Washingtonians on the high end of average fish consumption, which in turn will protect all those who eat fish from Washington waters. See Ecology’s Reducing Toxics in Fish, Sediments, & Water page for more information on fish consumption rates.

July 17, 2012

Ecology director announced revised approach to updating fish consumption rates

Ted Sturdevant, director of the Washington State Department of Ecology, has announced a revised approach for updating the state’s fish consumption rates for water quality and cleaning up contaminated sediments. Read about the changes and see the updated timeline.
See Ecology’s Reducing Toxics in Fish, Sediments, & Water page for more information on fish consumption rates.

June 19, 2012

Ecology received comments on Determination of Significance and scope of Environmental Impact Statement

Ecology has completed the State Environmental Policy Act Determination of Significance (DS) and Scoping Notice for the Environmental Impact Statement. The document was available for review from May 24 thru June 8, 2012. Public comments that were received can be viewed here.

February 29, 2012

Ecology received comments on preliminary rule language

Working with the Sediment Cleanup Advisory Committee Ecology developed a preliminary draft SMS rule.  We received input from the committee (both verbal during meetings and written) and input from other interested persons submitted by January 18, 2012.   From this input we will be developing the draft rule that will be published in the summer for formal public comment.  Ecology will hold public hearings and accept formal public comments. We will consider and evaluate all input and comments and make appropriated changes to the draft rule based on input and comments.

To view comments Ecology has received on the preliminary rule language please click here: comments received.

The preliminary draft rule is located among the December 9, 2011 committee meeting materials:  Preliminary SMS draft rule.


Ecology continues work on the Sediment Management Standards

The Sediment Cleanup Advisory Committee met three times from October 28, 2011 through December 9, 2011 to discuss the preliminary draft rule language. Materials from these meetings are available here.   (Ecology developed preliminary draft rule language that reflects work done with the previous advisory groups – for previous work see links in the following paragraphs or go to the MTCA/SMS Rulemaking Archive.)

In 2009, Ecology started a rule-making process that included both the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) and the cleanup portions of the Sediment Management Standards (SMS) rule. In November 2010, Ecology stopped work on updating the MTCA rule after  Gov. Gregoire issued Executive Order 10-06, which temporarily suspended non-critical rule-making.  Ecology determined that updating the SMS rule is necessary to protect public health, so work on this rule continues.  Ecology filed a revised CR-101 reflecting this changed scope of the rule-making effort.

Ecology met separately with the MTCA/SMS Advisory Group and Sediment Workgroup beginning in December 2009 which ended with a joint meeting on December 17, 2010 to work through key rule issues. Materials from these meetings are available here: Advisory Group Meeting Information.

In addition to rule advisory group meetings, Ecology has conducted other outreach on the SMS rule including the Sediment Annual Review Meeting in May 2011 and the Advanced Sediment Conference in April 2011.

Ecology plans to provide announcements via e-mail, post materials on this website, and provide opportunity for comments. We anticipate filing a CR-102 (proposing draft rule language) in 2012.

Email announcements

The MTCA-SMS-RULEMAKING-LISTSERV will continue providing updates on the sediment rulemaking efforts. To receive updates on the SMS rulemaking efforts please sign up for e-mail announcements. If you are already subscribed you will continue to receive announcements on the SMS rulemaking effort, plus occasional related information.


SMS Rule Chapter
173-204 WAC

SMS Rule Revisions FAQ

Reducing Toxic Chemicals in Fish, Sediments and Water

Chance Asher  360.407.6914