Complying With Clean Water Rules

Complying With Clean Water Rules

Complying With Clean Water Rules

I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

Just over a year ago the state Department of Ecology invited numerous agricultural interests in the state to participate on a new Agriculture Water Quality Advisory Committee. The committee has been working on a guidance document that will outline how producers can manage livestock to comply with state and federal clean water regulations. One of the bills up before legislature this session was SB 5584, which would have required the Department of Ecology to do site-based, source-specific water quality testing prior to making "substantial potential to pollute" determinations. Washington cattleman Jack Field offers up this analogy on the "potential to pollute".

FIELD: In your car take a look at your speedometer, it probably goes 90 to 100 miles an hour, so it's not too far of an inference to say since my speedometer says I can go 100 mph State Patrol should be able to write you a ticket for 100 in a school zone because your car has the substantial potential to drive 100 mph through a school zone. Does that mean you're going to do that? Absolutely not. The same thing could be said when you have the opportunity simply to meet that bar of substantial potential. Substantial potential to me could be very different from one inspector to the next, and that's one of the challenges we have is trying to figure out how to get a more uniform standard that would eliminate much of the gray area and make it a much easier decision.

The guidance document being vetted by the Agriculture and Water Quality Committee is supposed to help do just that, but will also leave room for on-the-ground interpretation. For more information on dates and times of the committee's future meetings visit Ecology's website.

That's Washington Ag Today.

I'm Lacy Gray with the Ag Information Network of the West.

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