King County Stormwater Violations Trend

May 8, 2020
By Jenny Ma

This year, a new permit for Industrial Stormwater General Permit (ISGP) for the state of Washington went into effect. Now is a great time to look at how permit holders in King County did over the 2015-2019 period regarding stormwater violations.

Data was collected from the Department of Ecology looking at all industrial stormwater violations reported in each year for King County during the 2015-2019 permit period.

Over the permit period, the top three violations have been benchmark exceedances, monitoring violations, and reporting violations.

  • Benchmark exceedances (e.g. a stormwater sample contained lead that was over the 64.6 µg/L limit) have been trending down, going from 410 violations in 2015 to 278 in 2019 – a 32% decrease in violations reported.
  • Monitoring violations (e.g. a stormwater sample was not taken, or sample analysis was not conducted or reported) have decreased from 297 in 2015 to 128 in 2019 – a 57% decrease.
  • Reporting violations (e.g. Discharge Monitoring Report had incomplete values or values were reported incorrectly) had been decreasing over the years – 2016 had 173 reporting violations, the lowest amount recorded during the permit period – but had an uptick in 2019 with 217 violations, a 9% decrease compared to 2015’s 239 violations.

Some other violations of interest were:

  • Effluent violations (e.g. pH of sample taken was outside permit limits) – increased from 11 violations in 2015 to 19 violations in 2019, a 72% increase.
  • Management practice violations (e.g. improper chemical handling) have remained relatively low during the permit period.
  • Permitting violations (e.g. polluting waters of the state or failure to clean up spills) – 3 reported violations during the permit period
  • Warning limit exceedances – 1 reported violation during this past permit period.
  • Wastewater and stormwater non-construction violations (e.g. failure to implement BMPs or conduct inspections) – 2015 and 2017 reports each have about 15 violations in this category.

For a more detailed breakdown of the violations by year, please check out the diagrams below.

2015 King County Violations

2016 King County Violations

2017 King County Violations

2018 King County Violations

2019 King County Violations

Overall, the general downward trend of reported violations during this past permit period is a good indication that companies are doing their due diligence to comply with state stormwater regulations. If you would like to know more about how Freer Consulting can help you with any of your stormwater management issues, contact us at 206-285-9044 or info@freerconsulting.com.

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