New regulations go into effect for Eastern Washington Stormwater Departments

CLARKSTON, WA - The Washington State Department of Ecology released a new municipal stormwater permit Wednesday for the Eastern part of the State.

"They issued a new permit that will be effective in Eastern Washington July 21st of 2014," said Regional Stormwater Coordinator Cheryl Sonnen.

The permit will ramp up regulations for run-off into streams, rivers and lakes to minimize pollution in the water. Regional Stormwater Coordinator Cheryl Sonnen said the Eastern Washington Stormwater Coordinators got together and went through the rough draft of the permit line-by-line to offer their suggestions and requests before the DOE. She says initially there were some areas of the permit that were not feasible with their budget and she's happy they took their comments into consideration.

"There was some language in there that was going to be very difficult for us to meet their requirements," said Sonnen. "Some education requirements, doing some social marketing, you know evaluating the success of our program through social marketing which we don't have the expertise for."

Sonnen said she has not been able to review the entire permit however some changes the area will see, is increased monitoring of run-off and water quality through increased vegetation and soil along water channels.

"Monitoring is a new requirement in there and it's a new and pretty extensive piece of that," said Sonnen.

DOE Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant said the permit is tailored to the Eastern side of the state.

"The stormwater issues are very different in Western Washington then they are in Eastern Washington," said Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant. "For that reason, back in the early 2000's we established a separate stormwater manual for Eastern Washington acknowledging the differences and that played forward as we wrote our permits."

"Over the next two years then, we'll go through that and see where we need to improve our new program and then in the meantime of course there's going to be lot's of people evaluating it," said Sonnen.

Sonnen said this general permit will still give room to adjust to the needs of Asotin County and it's stormwater needs.

"For us a general permit is much better than having specific requirements on what Asotin County has to do," said Sonnen. "We still have some control on how we're going to implement that. And that's where some of our cost savings are going to come in too."

Sonnen said she does expect some groups in the state to challenge some areas of the permit that have extensive requirements.

If you'd like to learn more about the permit released by the DOE go to ECY.WA.GOV for more info.