Chapter 173-201A WAC (variances)

The Department of Ecology is starting the rulemaking process to amend Chapter 173-201A WAC Water Quality Standards for Surface Waters of the State of Washington.   

The rulemaking would adopt one or more variances to the water quality standards for organic compounds known as polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs. We are considering the variances in response to five applications received from point source dischargers to the Spokane River.

Rulemaking timeline


Announcement phase (CR-101)

Filing date:

June. 12, 2019

Announcement documents

Rule development phase

June 2019 - Winter 2019/2020

Public input & involvement

Nov. 14, 2019: Workshop on PCB Variances for the Spokane River

We are hosting a one day public workshop to share information on the potential use of PCB variances for five Spokane River dischargers.

When:  Nov. 14, 2019, tentatively from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Where: CenterPlace Regional Events Center 
              2426 N Discovery Pl 
              Spokane Valley, WA

You may also attend this workshop via webinar. Register for the webinar here.

We are developing a detailed agenda and meeting materials. At this time, we plan to cover the following topics:

  • Overview of PCBs in the Spokane River
  • Clean Water Act and Variances 101
  • Ecology's rulemaking process and status update
  • Status of the discharger specific variance applications
  • Next steps

Please note, the topics and meeting time are tentative. As we build the agenda, if it looks like we need to extend the meeting time to start earlier or end later in order to ensure time for discussion, we will update this page.

June 12 to July 11, 2019: We held a public comment period on the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

As part of the formal EIS process, a 21-day scoping notice is held to announce that we are starting to develop a draft EIS and to invite any suggestions on what the scope of the draft EIS should include. On June 28, 2019 we extended the comment period to 30 days. The comment period ended on July 11, 2019. 

We asked for comments about alternatives, mitigation measures, adverse impacts, and any other considerations we should include as we develop the EIS. We do not yet have a draft rule; we will start working on the draft in the coming months and will release it for public comment during the rule proposal phase before it is finalized. 
See our blog for more information

Additional languages

Español (Spanish) 中文 (Chinese) Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese) 한국어 (Korean) русский (Russian)


To request ADA accommodation for disabilities, or printed materials in a format for the visually impaired, contact Ecology's ADA Coordinator by email at, or call 360-407-6831. People with impaired hearing may call Washington Relay Service at 711. People with speech disability may call TTY at 877-833-6341.