The Washington Department of Ecology issued new draft permit language here for the 2012 forthcoming new NPDES permits. And while the new permits go at great length to include the Pollution Control Hearings Board’s mandated low impact development techniques the new permit wades into additional waters traditionally not under the purview of the Department of Ecology. 

In particular, the new NPDES permit requires that jurisdictions that would like to expand their Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) over 80 acres or that would like to potentially change Comprehensive Plan designations (for instance taking a property from residential to commercial) conduct a watershed planning analysis as part of those updates. This would add significant costs to jurisdictions like Clark County that have multiple UGAs and watersheds within those UGAs. And the cost of the watershed planning for individual Comprehensive Plan amendments could be prohibitive if shifted to applicants.

Multiple jurisdictions, organizations, companies and private parties commented on the draft language and the comments range from the NPDES permit going much too far afield to not far enough. We will continue to monitor the status of the new permit.