Water quality regs up for review

Published on Thu, Jan 9, 2003 by Meg Olson

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Water quality regs up for review

By Meg Olson

The state department of ecology is starting a rewrite of the state’s water quality standards and has scheduled a series of public meeting on the new rules.

The water quality standards set limits on pollution in Washington’s lakes, rivers and marine waters in order to protect water quality for swimming, fishing, fish habitat, agriculture and drinking water. They also set the foundation for other programs such as wastewater permits and water cleanup plans.

Ecology is proposing to change several key aspects of the standards, including existing rules for temperature, dissolved oxygen, bacteria and ammonia. New rules would protect the threatened bull trout and help keep water supplies safe for agriculture.

“This proposal reflects the latest science and incorporates new state and federal requirements - all aimed at making our waters clean and safe for people, fish and wildlife,” said Megan White, who manages the water quality program for Ecology.

“We’ve done our best to protect the environment while balancing sometimes sharply conflicting viewpoints,” said White. “If anyone has a better proposal, we want to hear it.”

The closest public hearing will be in Bellingham February 3 at the county courthouse at 8 p.m., preceded by a workshop at 6 p.m. Written comment can also be submitted until March 7. For more information check the DOE web site at www.ecy.wa.gov.

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