Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

"Department of Ecology postpones issuance of new stormwater permits"

Good news from today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
The Washington Department of Ecology has postponed the issuance of its new stormwater permits to accommodate cities that need time to examine the provisions of the permit.

Pullman is among the cities struggling to meet the standards of the new permits, which originally were scheduled to be issued to the city today and become effective Jan. 19.

The permits now are slated to be issued Jan. 17.

Pullman City Supervisor John Sherman said he is relieved for the postponement. He hopes Washington’s 9th District legislators will help ease some of the expensive standards the permits would require of the city.

The state Legislature convenes Jan. 8.

The state has higher standards than the federal government, Sherman said.

The Department of Ecology is requiring “a quality standard that basically is impossible,” he said. “Instead of being a uniform one-size-fits-all standard, a standard (should) be developed that does fit us.”

The permits were designed to manage the quality and quantity of runoff water from development, and to control stormwater discharges into the sewer system. The requirements are intended to reduce pollution and contamination of downstream waters.

Pullman is surrounded by farmland and has uniquely loose soil content, which increases runoff into area waterways. The city already has groundwater regulations in place. Further studies will be done to evaluate if the city can comply with the state’s regulations, Sherman said.

Sherman said the city will continue working with the Department of Ecology to reach an agreement. He said the Department of Ecology should focus its energy on the west side of the state, particularly communities that bump up against large waterways such as the Puget Sound.

“Pullman is not going to affect anything, given our distance,” he said.
Hopefully, David Buri, using his power as House Minority Floor Leader, can make it so Pullman is exempted all together from these ridiculous regulations.

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