06/24/2011: "Ecology Wants Input On 2010 Assessment Of Marine Waters"
OLYMPIA - The Department of Ecology (DoE) is seeking public comments on its draft 2010 assessment of Washington's marine waters. The assessment also covers marine sediment quality.
The assessment, required by the Clean Water Act, is the state's latest list of polluted waters plus a status of water quality. Ecology uses an alternating schedule to complete separate biannual assessments of marine and freshwaters. Ecology will begin evaluating freshwater data for the 2012 freshwater assessment this July, and will accept public comment until Aug. 16.
Ecology encourages the public to review marine waters they are familiar with, and provide comments on where they see problems or disagree with draft assessment results.
Now is the time to give input; however DoE asks that if you disagree with the assessment results, please provide an explanation and additional information to support your position.
Ecology presents the marine waters assessment as a package of Internet tools . The tools include interactive maps and lists that allow the user to customize and sort an area of interest by geographic location, pollutant parameter, degree of concern, and other factors. It is organized by water grids into different categories.
There are five major categories in the assessment, ranging from clean to polluted. Category 5 represents the state's list of polluted waters, also known as 303(d) list, named after its section in the Clean Water Act.
Ecology's marine waters assessment is based on statewide marine water quality data collected before October 2009.
Ecology's Mike Herold, who is managing the marine assessment said: "The assessment it not necessarily a tool to tell us if marine waters and sediments are getting cleaner or dirtier. In each new assessment we focus on more areas, so the closer we look, the more we see. The assessment documents progress in addressing polluted water in specific geographic areas and helps the state recognize locations where additional water pollution control measures are needed."
Please submit comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Ecology's Ken Koch, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600. T
hese must be postmarked by no later than 5 p.m., Aug. 16. People may direct questions about the assessment to Ken Koch at 360-407-6782.