Washington Environment - General regulations & environmental compliance analysis

Washington Environment - General: What you need to know

Overview of Washington's Environmental Rules

STATE REGULATORY AGENCY

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In Washington, the counterpart to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the Washington Department of Ecology (WDOE). WDOE is responsible for protecting Washington's land, water, and air from pollution. WDOE is responsible for administering and enforcing the state's environmental programs governing air pollution, water quality, hazardous materials, and waste management. Various state regulatory requirements are more stringent than corresponding federal requirements.

AIR QUALITY RULES

Washington's air pollution program is shaped by its state implementation plan (SIP). The SIP is a plan detailing the methods by which the state will implement, maintain, and enforce the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). As mandated by the federal Clean Air Act (CAA), each state must adopt and submit a SIP to EPA for approval. Washington officially submitted its SIP to EPA in January 1972. However, it is constantly being amended in order to comply with the 1990 CAA amendments. The SIP focuses on permitting, requirements for nonattainment areas, hazardous air pollutants, and numerous other air-related programs.

Washington's air program is implemented and enforced by WDOE's Air Quality Program. The state also has several local air quality agencies that implement and enforce air quality programs within their jurisdiction.

WATER QUALITY RULES

The state's program for water quality permits predates the federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program for industrial wastewater dischargers. As a result, some facilities are required to obtain both NPDES permits and state discharge permits. In order to streamline its dual permitting ...


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