Water Quality Standards for Protecting Human Health
(Fish consumption rates)
Chapter 173-201A WAC
We released a new proposed rule that updates surface water quality standards to
include human health criteria and updated tools to implement the standards.
Our new proposed rule maintains a more protective cancer risk rate and
is in keeping with the governor's directive from October 2015.
It aims to protect the health of Washington’s people,
fish and the economy. It provides a foundation for our ongoing progress
to reduce and control toxics in the environment as we continue to work
with researchers and manufacturers to find safer chemical alternatives,
eliminating these toxics at the source.
Our new proposed rule helps the state maintain control over how to meet federal requirements to ensure we are protecting human health while providing businesses and local government sensible tools to comply with updated standards.
We held public hearings in April and our public comment period closed April 22, 2016. We expect to adopt a final rule in August 2016.
The Environmental Protection Agency also is preparing a rule for Washington in case our rule is not finalized. EPA released its draft rule in September 2015.
Compare Ecology's and EPA's proposed rules
Both the state and EPA proposed rules agree that water quality standards should be based on a daily average fish consumption rate of 175 grams
per day and a one-in-one-million cancer risk rate.
The state's new proposed rule offers implementation tools to wastewater dischargers to provide them time to come into compliance while working on reducing toxics in their waste streams. EPA's rule proposal does not contain these options.
EPA's proposed rule contains stringent limits for PCBs and arsenic, and adds a new limit for methyl mercury that will be difficult for Washington dischargers to meet. Our new
proposed rule would maintain the current standards, as proposed in our initial rule, for PCBs.
Criteria for mercury would remain under federal regulation. Arsenic would align with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act standard.
Ecology's rulemaking process
Last updated May 2016