Department of Ecology Proposes Legislation on Fecal Coliform Limits in Industrial Stormwater

Published Jan 30, 2012

The Washington Department of Ecology has requested legislation to provide regulatory relief for facilities covered under the Industrial Stormwater General Permit (ISGP).  Prior to issuance of the final 2010 ISGP, Ecology took the position that it was not appropriate to require industrial facilities to comply with effluent limits for fecal coliform unless there was some activity at the facility that was specifically associated with bacterial contamination (for example, food processing).  In a significant reversal, Ecology’s final 2010 ISGP imposed strict numeric limits for fecal coliform on 91 industrial sites in Washington.  This standard has proven extremely difficult for industrial facilities to meet, particularly at sites visited by seagulls and other birds.

Companion bills in the state Senate and House (SB 6393 and HB 2651) introduced at Ecology’s request would correct this problem by allowing Ecology to impose narrative limits (best management practices) rather than numeric limits.  Ecology plans to release a draft modification of the ISGP in early February 2012 that will implement this new approach to controlling fecal coliform.  For more information, contact James Tupper at

  • To view the proposed legislation, click here.
  • To view the Focus Sheet on the legislation, click here.