Tupper Mack Wells Submits Comments Regarding Ecology's Proposed Human Health Criteria

Published Apr 07, 2015
Water Quality

The Washington State Department of Ecology’s public comment period for its proposed rule on human health criteria and implementation tools closed on March 23, 2015. Ecology is in the process of conducting a rulemaking on chapter 173-201A WAC.

Tupper Mack Wells submitted a comment letter on behalf of the Northwest Pulp & Paper Association (NWPPA) noting that the Department of Ecology’s proposed human health criteria is protective of Washington’s most sensitive beneficial uses and is defensible under the federal Clean Water Act. The proposed criteria for most chemicals addressed in the rulemaking are significantly more stringent than the criteria currently applicable in Washington. None of the proposed criteria are less stringent than current EPA criteria that apply in Washington.

The proposed criteria are based on several conservative assumptions in the risk management decisions made by Ecology. These include the use of a high tribal fish consumption rate which includes all salmon and store-bought fish, and the use of a risk level that is considered to represent the equivalent of zero increased risk in accordance with EPA guidance.

Ecology has stated its intent to adopt a final rule this summer. That schedule may be delayed, however, if the department concludes that it must substantially revise the rule based on the comments it has received on the draft rule.

For more information, contact James Tupper at tupper@tmw-law.com.

  • To view the comment letter in its entirety, click here.