Chapter 173-201A WAC (Variances)

This rulemaking is permanently on hold.

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

Informal comment period on preliminary draft rule June 10 - July 25, 2020

Because of the uncertainty created by EPA's rollback of the criteria, we are unable to move forward and cannot officially release the formal draft rule language until the court case is resolved.  

We held an informal comment period on the following preliminary draft rule documents from June 10 to July 25, 2020:

View public comments

While your feedback will help us develop rule language and supporting documents, we will not formally respond to comments received.

April 8 and 23, 2020: Open house webinar on PCB Variances for the Spokane River

We held two online webinars to provide general information about PCBs and variances, and preliminary information on how we evaluated the variance applications. We also discussed what to expect during the formal public comment period.

Our goal of these webinars was to provide the public with information that will assist with the upcoming review of the draft rule.

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

We held a one day public workshop to share information on the potential use of PCB variances for five Spokane River dischargers. This workshop was held in-person in Spokane Valley, WA, and online via webinar.

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; once it is complete we will release it for public comment during the rule proposal phase before it is finalized. 
See our blog for more information

This rulemaking is on hold until resolution of EPA action. 

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