In 2006, the Washington Department of Ecology issued a second NPDES permit for the control of aquatic weed growth within the state. This document provides the regulations applicators must follow when treating waters of the State. Our firm objected to two conditions present in this permit.
The first objection we had was to an abitrary fish timing window that affects many of our clients and other in the state. On this objection the Board ruled for Ecology. While we presented evidence that the products were not damaging to fish, the board found Ecology’s arguments that this condition was necessary to protect the environment from these products during certain times of year. They did require Ecology to amend this document to remove fish besides Salmon. The agency that put this window together tried to extent it to Large Mouth Bass and other species and the Board ruled Ecology must remove those species.
The second thing we opposed was the requirement on large lakes like Lake Washington to only treat 10 feet on either side of a dock. The Board ruled in our favor on this and found Ecology did not have a scientific support for this requirement and that is should be changed to allow the control of noxious aquatic weeds where they occur. Ecology was directed to change the permit to reflect this.
The last part of this appeal was brought by a competitor Northwest Aquatic Ecosystems. They opposed the condition where a permit could be denied to a business that had not paid fines owed for violations of this permit. They currently have approximately $80,000.00 in unpaid fines for previous violations of these permits. The Board ruled that Ecology should delete the portion of the permit that allows for this. I don’t know that this provides additional protection for the environment. These are the types of violations that harm the industry and hopefully Ecology will take the steps necessary to collect these fines.
We will be posting this ruling when available in electronic form.