Stormwater rule changes subject of workshop on Monday

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WALLA WALLA - Proposed changes to stormwater regulations will be the subject of a workshop Monday in Walla Walla.

The state Department of Ecology workshop will begin at 9 a.m. in the conference room at the Walla Walla Regional Airport.

The workshop will begin with a presentation followed by a general question-and-answer session. Ecology staff will also be available afterward to answer questions and provide information.

Although oral testimony on the proposed changes will not be taken at Monday's workshop, people have until Feb. 3 to submit written comments.

Stormwater regulations are intended to stop or limit pollution of rivers, lakes and streams due to runoff from rainwater and snow melt.

According to Ecology, stormwater contaminated with oil, chemicals or other substances is the leading cause of water pollution in urban areas.

One of three proposed changes involve allowing Low Impact Development stormwater projects that mimic natural drainage processes. This will primarily affect urban growth areas around the cities of Walla Walla and College Place, as well as Burbank, said Harriet Beale of Ecology.

The other changes involve monitoring requirements to measure how effective stormwater management programs are in preventing pollution and evaluation of areas where stormwater regulations may need to be extended due to population growth.

The areas in Eastern Washington being looked at are in Grandview, the unincorporated area around Ellensburg and Sunnyside in Yakima County, according to a fact sheet from Ecology.

The state regulations stem from the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Phase II permit Walla Walla County has operated under since 2007. Along with Walla Walla County, five other counties and 18 cities in Eastern Washington are under the permit's jurisdiction.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.

Stormwater workshop

The state Department of Ecology workshop will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday at the Walla Walla Regional Airport conference room.

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