Water Quality, NPDES, & UIC

NPDES Phase II Stormwater Permit
Under a directive from the EPA, the Washington State Department of Ecology issued Spokane County a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), Eastern Washington Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit (NPDES Permit) in February 2007. The guiding law behind the NPDES Permit is the Federal "Clean Water Act," which regulates the discharge of pollutants to waters of the United States.
Here's the link to view the Eastern Washington Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit (PDF) (NPDES Stormwater Permit).  It is also available on the Ecology Website.

NPDES Annual Report

Spokane County's NPDES permit requires that an annual report be submitted to Ecology.  To view the 2015 NPDES Annual Report, click here.

NPDES - Pollution Prevention Ordinance
On July 21, 2009 the Spokane County Board of of County Commissioners approved amendments to Spokane County Code, Chapter 9.14, Roads, Approach and Drainage in New Construction, to meet the state mandated pollution prevention requirements of the Eastern Washington Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit (NPDES Permit). This ordinance is designed to prevent water pollution and protect water quality within our rivers, lakes, streams, and aquifer. View Spokane County Code, Title 9, Chapter 9.14 (PDF).

Stormwater Management Program
Spokane County is required to accomplish tasks associated with six (6) minimum control measures: education and outreach; public involvement and participation; illicit discharge detection and elimination; construction site runoff and post construction management; and pollution prevention and good housekeeping for municipal operations. To learn more about the NPDES Permit and minimum control measures visit their website.

In accordance with the NPDES Permit, Annual Reports have been completed annually and submitted to the Department of Ecology. Each Annual Report includes an updated draft copy of the Spokane County Stormwater Management Program (SWMP). The SWMP is currently a public working document until formal adoption procedures are completed prior to the end of the five year permit cycle in 2012. The Annual Report is too large to be linked for public access. The link below will take you to the Spokane County Draft Stormwater Management Program. Both documents are available for public review and comment. Contact Russ Connole, Project Manager, at (509) 477-7245 or via email.
2012 Stormwater Management Program (PDF)

Stormwater Operations and Maintenance Plan
In 2010, the NPDES Permit required the development of a Stormwater Operations and Maintenance Plan (O&M Plan) for municipal operations. The O and M Plan includes all Spokane County departments' facilities, properties and related activities that have the potential to impact surface water quality.

The NPDES Permit requires implementation of all activities described within the O&M Plan by August 15, 2011. The plan's requirements are described within the NPDES Permit under "Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operations" (S5.B6.). View the Spokane County Stormwater O&M Plan (PDF).

Who Needs Construction Stormwater Permit Coverage?

Please answer the following questions:
  • Does your construction project disturb one or more acres of land through clearing, grading, excavating, or stockpiling of fill material? Remember to count the cumulative acreage of the entire project whether in a single or in a multiphase project. This applies even if you are responsible for only a small portion [less than one acre] of the larger project planned over time.
  • Is there any possibility that stormwater could run off your site during construction and into surface waters or conveyance systems leading to surface waters of the state? In almost every case, the answer to this question is yes.
However, if the topography and location of your site is such that there is no possibility that rainfall or snowmelt could leave the site or enter a waterway, it is likely that you will not need permit coverage. If you answered "yes" to both of these questions, contact the Department of Ecology to determine if you will need a permit. Construction site operators must apply for a permit 60 days prior to discharging stormwater.

For more information visit Ecology's website.

If a Construction General Permit is required by The Department of Ecology, you will need a Certified Erosion and Sediment Control Lead (CESCL) to monitor stormwater controls on your construction site. Access the CESCL training calendar (PDF).

Underground Injection Control (UIC)
Underground Injection Control are also known as “dry wells”.

The Underground Injection Control program was created by Congress to protect underground sources of drinking water from discharges of fluids to the ground. The UIC program in the state of Washington is administered by the Department of Ecology. In Washington State all ground water is protected equally under RCW 90.48 and Chapter 173-200 WAC Water Quality Standards for Ground Waters of the State of Washington.

The two basic requirements of the UIC Program are:
  • Register UIC wells with the Washington State Department of Ecology unless the wells are located on tribal land. Well on tribal land should be registered with the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Make sure that current and future underground sources of ground water are not endangered by pollutants in the discharge non-endangerment standard.
Since stormwater picks up contaminants as it runs over the land surface, it can pollute ground water once infiltration occurs. Pollution of ground water from stormwater discharges can be prevented by careful design of the UIC well, strategic siting and effective operation and maintenance. Pollution can also be prevented by use of treatment before discharge to the sub-surface and by reducing the stormwater contact with potential sources of contamination.

UIC wells must be registered. For more information visit Ecology's website.