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Category Archives: Water Quality

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Breaking: Puget Soundkeeper and Others Sue EPA (Again) Alleging Failure to Adopt Water Quality Standards for Washington that Account for Higher Fish Consumption Rates

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Fish Consumption, Water Quality

Earthjustice, representing a number of environmental groups, sued EPA on Friday alleging that EPA is in violation of the Clean Water Act because it has not finalized the draft rule it published back in September that set water quality standards for toxics in Washington based on higher fish consumption rates. This lawsuit is not a surprise,… Continue Reading

Breaking: EPA Issues Draft Rule Revising Washington’s Water Quality Standards for Toxics to Account for Higher Fish Consumption Rates

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Fish Consumption, Public Health Policy, Water Quality

Yesterday, following quickly on the heels of Governor Inslee’s withdrawal of Washington’s version of the fish consumption rule, EPA released draft water quality standards for toxics for Washington. These standards, if adopted, are significantly more stringent than those Ecology had proposed. By way of background, the core issue that emerged over the last two years is… Continue Reading

Guest Post: Aspect Consulting’s Discussion of the Washington Department of Ecology’s Efforts to Update Its Water Quality Assessment for Freshwaters

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Guest Posts, Water Quality

This is another in the series of guest posts authored by the consultants we work with and trust. Owen Reese is a Water Resources Engineer at Aspect Consulting approached us and offered to provide Aspect’s perspective on Ecology’s efforts to update its Water Quality Assessment for freshwater. We eagerly took Owen up on the offer… Continue Reading

Five Environmental Issues to Track as Washington’s 64th Legislature Begins Session

Posted in Emerging Policy, Fish Consumption, Legislation, Tax, Water Quality

Governor Inslee has been busy since the end of the last legislative session laying out his environmental agenda, announcing his intent to pursue an aggressive climate change agenda back in April, and coupling the controversial fish consumption issue to an overall toxics reduction strategy. Today marks the start of the legislative session. Here are five… Continue Reading

Breaking: EPA Issues its Record of Decision for the Duwamish River Superfund Site

Posted in Cleanup & Superfund, Environmental Risk, Fish Consumption, Water Quality

EPA Region 10 just released its Record of Decision (ROD) for the Duwamish River Superfund Site. This is the next step in the cleanup process for the Lower Duwamish River, and documents EPA’s selected remedy for the site. It comes on the heels of EPA’s Proposed Plan for the Duwamish, issued in February 2013.  The… Continue Reading

Ecology Releases Preliminary Draft Rule Adjusting Washington’s Water Quality Standards to Account for Higher Fish Consumption Rates

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Fish Consumption, Geeky Science Stuff, Public Health Policy, Water Quality

As directed by Governor Inslee back in July, the Washington Department of Ecology released a preliminary draft rule that will ultimately lead to the amendment of Washington’s Water Quality Standards for toxics. This is the next step in a multi-year process under which Washington is adjusting its WQS to account for a higher fish consumption… Continue Reading

Breaking: Judge Coughenour Dismisses Puget Soundkeeper’s Fish Consumption Lawsuit

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Fish Consumption, Water Quality

Yesterday afternoon, Judge Coughenour issued his decision on the summary judgment motions in the lawsuit brought by Earthjustice on Puget Soundkeeper‘s behalf. The motion alleged that EPA Region 10 violated the Clean Water Act by not promulgating revised water quality criteria for Washington that account for higher fish consumption rates. The case broke just about how… Continue Reading

Guest Post from Integral Consulting: Integral Continues the Conversation Related to Washington State’s Water Quality Standards Revisions

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Fish Consumption, Guest Posts, Water Quality

Doug’s post on July 23 provided an excellent summary of Ecology’s webinar outlining its revision process for water quality standards (WQSs). Integral would like to point out a few more details of interest in Ecology’s approach. Ecology indicated that it will continue to use bioconcentration factors (BCFs), which estimate concentrations in fish tissue based on… Continue Reading

Report from Ecology’s July 22nd Meeting Outlining the Next Steps to Update Water Quality Standards

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Fish Consumption, Water Quality

Ecology held a meeting at its Lacey offices yesterday to outline the next steps in the process to update Washington’s Water Quality Standards Handbook to account for increased fish consumption rates. This meeting comes on the heels of Governor Inslee’s July 9th announcement regarding his policy decisions in the issue. Yesterday’s meeting was focused on what… Continue Reading

What Can Washington Learn from Plastics in the Pacific and Mercury in the Midwest?

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Fish Consumption, Geeky Science Stuff, Public Health Policy, Water Quality

Two different scientific papers caught my eye this past week. Neither involve research conducted in the Pacific Northwest, but both are worth reviewing in light of the fish consumption debate raging in Washington right now. The first is an upcoming article by a group of Spanish researchers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences… Continue Reading

Fact Check: Are Carbon Emissons Contributing to Acid Rain?

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Geeky Science Stuff, Ocean Acidification, Water Quality

This morning’s twitter feed brought me the latest from Crosscut on Governor Inslee’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce. The most important part of the article was the announcement that the next Taskforce meeting (on July 29th) will include a rollout of a draft plan to meet the goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the state… Continue Reading

Guest Post from Integral Consulting: Integral Continues the Conversation Related to Doug’s Posts on Fish Consumption Rates

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Fish Consumption, Geeky Science Stuff, Guest Posts, Water Quality

Note: This is the second guest post by Integral on this subject, it is also worth reviewing their prior post from February on this topic. In addition to the updated national recommended water quality criteria discussed by Doug on May 20, EPA has recently released another document with implications for selection of an appropriate fish… Continue Reading

WRRDA Signed by President Obama

Posted in Capital and Funding, Legislation, Tax, Water Quality

To close the loop on our previous stories regarding the WRRDA (here and here), President Obama signed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 on Tuesday. Now it is on to the appropriation process, although there are some immediate changes to how projects are approved, etc., that we could see the benefit of sooner. During the signing,… Continue Reading

Mexico Joins Maritime Redevelopment Fun

Posted in Capital and Funding, Legislation, Water Quality

As we have previously detailed (here and here), Congress just passed, and the President is expected to sign, the first water resource development bill since 2007. This will make ports on both coasts more competitive internationally. For those ports here in the Pacific Northwest, it will make them more competitive with Canadian ports in British Columbia…. Continue Reading

Water Resource Reform, Port Channels and Flood Control, Oh My!

Posted in Legislation, Natural Resources and Environment, Project Permitting, Water Quality

At long last, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA) is expected to be passed by the Senate today and signed by President Obama soon. The first water resources development bill was enacted in 1974 and was intended to be reauthorized every two years. It was consistently updated (except for a hiatus between 1976 and… Continue Reading

First Reaction to EPA’s Just-Released Draft of the Definition of “Waters of the United States” Under the Clean Water Act

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Rule Making, Water Quality

The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers released a preview of the long-awaited proposed rule updating the definition of “Waters of the United States” yesterday morning. The proposed rule will soon be published in the Federal Register, but the unofficial version of the rule is available now. My initial reaction is that this rule—while being… Continue Reading

Breaking: Judge Coughenour Denies BNSF’s Motion to Dismiss in Suit Alleging CWA Violations for Discharge of Coal from Trains

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Natural Resources and Environment, Water Quality

Yesterday, Judge Coughenour denied BNSF’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by various environmental groups under the Clean Water Act that alleges that BNSF has been discharging coal from rail cars without an NPDES permit. He did so without oral argument, finding that the 60 day notice letter sent by the plaintiffs to BNSF and others… Continue Reading

EPA’s Initiation of a Clean Water Act Section 404(c) Review for the Mining of the Pebble Deposit: What is the History of EPA’s Other 404(c) Determinations?

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Endangered/Threatened Species, Natural Resources and Environment, Project Permitting, Uncategorized, Water Quality

Last Friday, EPA announced that it is initiating review of the proposed mining of the Pebble deposit in Alaska under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act, a little-used part of the CWA that allows EPA to “veto” Section 404 permits issued by the Army Corps of Engineers. As we briefly discussed over on Graham… Continue Reading

Breaking: Puget Soundkeeper Moves for Summary Judgment in Suit Against EPA Alleging Failure to Promulgate Water Quality Standards for Toxics in Washington

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Fish Consumption, Water Quality

This week saw two important developments in the lawsuit brought by Puget Soundkeeper and other environmental organizations against EPA Region 10 seeking to force EPA to promulgate new water quality standards for Washington that account for higher fish consumption rates: The first is that the court, not surprisingly, granted Ecology’s motion to intervene earlier this week…. Continue Reading

Guest Post: Integral Consulting’s Perspective on Washington’s Current Water Quality Standard Rulemaking Efforts

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Environmental Risk, Geeky Science Stuff, Guest Posts, Water Quality

Note from Doug Steding: This post came about when Randi Wexler from Integral Consulting Inc. sent me an email saying they were working on a comment to one of my previous fish consumption posts. Integral has been tracking this issue closely for a number of years, and I was excited to be able to offer… Continue Reading

(Almost) Live Blogging: Ecology’s Delegates Table Meeting on Water Quality Criteria Revisions to Account for Higher Fish Consumption Rates

Posted in Clean Water Act, Emerging Policy, Fish Consumption, Geeky Science Stuff, Water Quality

I spent much of this morning listening in on the Department of Ecology’s latest Delegates’ Table meeting regarding the ongoing efforts to revise Washington’s Water Quality Standards to account for higher fish consumption rates. The meeting included an update on where Ecology is in the process, Ecology’s current thinking on where the rule making may… Continue Reading

Breaking: Ash Grove Cement Sues Lone Star Industries–the First of Likely Many Contribution Claims Related to the Duwamish River Superfund Site

Posted in Cleanup & Superfund, Water Quality

Ash Grove Cement, the owners of a cement manufacturing facility located at the mouth of the Duwamish River immediately south of the West Seattle Bridge, filed suit against Lone Star Industries on Friday in the Western District of Washington, seeking cost recovery and contribution under CERCLA, MTCA and also asserting various related common law claims…. Continue Reading

Washington’s 2014 Legislative Session: Early Developments on Fish Consumption, Nuclear Power and More

Posted in Climate Change, Emerging Policy, Energy Policy, Fish Consumption, Uncategorized, Water Quality

We’re just over a week into the 2014 legislative session, and there are already some interesting developments. In no particular order, here is what is catching my eye: First, the Senate Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee held a work session on the fish consumption issue last week. The Association of Washington Business just posted an… Continue Reading