Originally presented at StormCon 2023.
The Washington State Department of Ecology’s (Ecology) Water Quality Program is responsible for protecting and restoring Washington’s waters to sustain healthy watersheds and communities. The department’s work ensures state waters support beneficial uses including recreational and business activities, supplies for clean drinking water, and the protection of fish, shellfish, wildlife and public health. The department works with engaged citizens and partners to restore and maintain the integrity of Washington’s waters by preventing and eliminating water pollution. Re-venting and eliminating polluted stormwater from entering waters of the State (WOS) is a top priority and the department does this through various regulatory mechanisms, including issuing National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Construction Stormwater General Permits (CSWGP). The CSWGP oversees construction activities for sites greater than an acre with the potential to drain to WOS within a mile of the project. Inspectors in the southwest region of the state are utilizing the GIS-based Survey123 mobile application to conduct inspections and generate reports. The app has greatly increased efficiency, which allows for more oversight of construction projects on-the-ground. Ecology’s regulatory process is focused on reaching compliance with the permit; however, Ecology has a formal enforcement process to issue penalties, when needed. This presentation will highlight the inspection process and discuss recent enforcement cases that resulted in high-level penalties due to polluted discharges to WOS and the settlement agreements associated, including Supplemental Environmental Projects that allow for mitigation actions.
About the Presenter
Brian Johnson has been with the Department of Ecology for eight years at the Hanford Nuclear site as a construction stormwater inspector. He received a Bachelor’s in Geology at Portland State University. The majority of his time has been working within CERCLA and RCRA and he also has over 12 years’ experience as a residential remodeling contractor.