Mar. 25, 2020 Ecology Announcements

Variance workshop reschedule, Sand & Gravel listening sessions

From the wa dept of ecology

New date for the Spokane Open House on PCB Variances

After considerable thought, we have decided to reschedule the March 24 Spokane Open House and March 26 webinar on PCB Variances for April 8, 2020.  Thank you for your patience and understanding as we adapt to the evolving nature of the pandemic response. In consideration of public health and safety, we are offering two opportunities to attend as an online webinar only:


April 8 morning webinar

10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Register for the morning webinar


April 8 evening webinar

6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Register for the evening webinar


The purpose of this open house is to revisit general information about variances and background on PCBs from previous workshops. Our goal is to provide the public with information that will assist with the upcoming review of the draft rule. We expect to have draft rule language and supporting documents available for public comment in May 2020, at which time we will schedule public hearings.  


During the virtual open house, we will cover:

·       An overview of PCBs in the environment

·       The water quality standard for PCBs and how we measure it

·       What is a variance and how does it affect compliance with water quality standards

·       How we evaluated each individual discharger variance application

·       What to expect during the formal public comment period


View Informational posters

Our intent for holding the open houses is to provide transparent and easy to understand information on what a variance from the water quality standards means, and why we are considering PCB variances for the Spokane River.


If you have an opportunity, please view our informational posters in advance of the open house webinars (the link to our posters will be live by morning of Thursday, March 26). We are hoping to gather your questions prior to the webinar to make it easier for everyone to participate. Please email any questions about the Spokane River PCB Variances to We will address them during the Q & A portion and will allow time for additional questions that come up during the presentation.


Visit our rulemaking page or view our focus sheet to learn more about the proposed PCB Variances for the Spokane River.


If you have any questions, please contact Marla Koberstein, Rulemaking Lead, at


The Department of Ecology is committed to providing people with disabilities access to information and services by meeting or exceeding the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Washington State Policy #188. 


To request an ADA accommodation, contact Ecology by phone at 360-407-6600 or email at For Washington Relay Service or TTY call 711 or 877-833-6341. Visit Ecology's website for more information.

Sand and Gravel Listening Sessions

The Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) is starting the process to revise and reissue the Sand and Gravel National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and State Waste Discharge General Permit.  The current permit was issued in February 2016 and will expire on March 31, 2021.

Listening Sessions

Prior to releasing a draft permit for public comment, we invite you to attend one or both of the following online listening sessions. These sessions are open to the public and will provide a forum for permit holders and other interested parties to provide informal feedback on the current permit and suggest revisions.

·       Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 1 p.m. Afternoon Listening Session Webinar

o   Join the webinar online

·       Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 6 p.m. Evening Listening Session Webinar

o   Join the webinar online

Purpose of the Permit

The Sand and Gravel General Permit provides NPDES coverage for facilities associated with sand and gravel operations, rock quarries, and similar mining operations, including concrete batch operations, and hot mix asphalt operations. This general permit regulates discharges of process water, stormwater, and mine dewatering water associated with these activities into waters of the state. Under federal and state water quality law (Federal Clean Water Act and State Water Pollution Control Act), a permit is required for discharges of process water, stormwater and mine dewatering water into waters of the state.


Next steps: Public Comment Draft General Permit

We do not have the draft permit language at this time. The draft permit and fact sheet are scheduled to be available for formal public comment in Fall 2020. We will hold public workshops and hearings on the draft permit, once it is released. The dates, times, and locations of the public workshops and hearings will be posted on our Sand and Gravel General Permit website. After we receive and consider all public comments, we will make a permit issuance decision and publish a formal response to comments document. Ecology expects to make a final permit issuance decision in February 2020.



Adrien Carroll-Perkins


Phone: 360-407-7386

Also, we added coronavirus updates to the following pages:

·       Industrial Stormwater General Permit

·       Construction Stormwater General Permit

·       WQ Web Portal Guidance Page


Please visit our COVID-19 response page for the latest agency information.