Violations of the Clean Water Act in Washington in 2019

June 2, 2020
By Jenny Ma

Over the past several years, regulatory authorities and nonprofits have increased their watch over stormwater compliance. Freer Consulting routinely monitors records for the state of Washington from the Region 10 office of the Environmental Protection Agency for Notices of Intent (NOI) to Sue under the Clean Water Act. In 2019, the EPA received 21 NOIs for Washington businesses and individuals.

Of these 21 NOIs, the top five categories were:

  • Discharge without a permit: 11 – 52% of NOIs
  • Numeric effluent violations (e.g. facility is discharging with pH levels outside of permitted limits): 11 – 52% of NOIs
  • Failure to prepare and implement best management practices (BMPs): 11 – 52% of NOIs
  • Failure to prepare and implement any or adequate Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP): 10 – 48% of NOIs
  • Improper/incorrect reporting (e.g. facility incorrectly records sample data): 10 – 48% of NOIs

Some other noteworthy observations are:

  • If a facility had any benchmark exceedances (e.g. facility’s copper sample is above permit limit), the facility would likely be cited for corrective action (Level 1, 2, and/or 3 requirements) violations.
    • 83% of facilities with benchmark exceedances had Level 1 violations
    • 83% of facilities with benchmark exceedances had Level 2 violations
    • 67% of facilities with benchmark exceedances had Level 3 violations
  • There were 6 NOIs where facilities failed to collect samples for Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs) – 29%
  • There were 5 NOIs where facilities failed to analyze samples for Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs) – 24%
  • There were 6 NOIs where facilities had monitoring violations (e.g. no routine monitoring of stormwater sample locations) – 29%
  • There were 7 NOIs where facilities failed to report permit violations – 33%

All violations cited in NOI letters received by the EPA in 2019 for the state of Washington are shown in the graph here.

If you would like to know more about how Freer Consulting can help you with stormwater management issues, contact us at 206-285-9044 or info@freerconsulting.com.

 

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