Washington Department of Ecology is accepting comments on New NPDES Permit

Aquatic weed and toxic algae control is governed in Washington State through an NPDES permit.  This permit renews every five years or so.  The public has until December 18th to submit comments on this document for their consideration.  This is a very easy thing to do, first go to this link http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/pesticides/final_pesticide_permits/aquatic_plants/aquatic_plant_permit_index.html

Once you are there, you can download and read the permit, the best one to obtain is the “Red Line Comparison Draft Permit” because it shows what was removed from the previous one and what was added.

We have the following concerns and would hope you would consider supporting these points through comments yourself, the same page has a electronic submission system on the same page as the link above.

Our first concern is the new requirement that the applicator return to the lake and remove the signed Ecology requires be posted.  This is something that will add between $500 and $1,000 to the cost of completing noxious aquatic weed control for the clients that require these services.  There should be an exception that the sponsor organization or the homeowners we work for can remove these signs.

This permit keeps one of the primary tools we have to fight toxic algae blooms as experimental when it is completely operational world wide.  Phoslock is a technology that was developed 25 years ago by the Australian National Science Academy.  It sequesters phosphorus with a nontoxic technology and that lowers the carrying capacity for a lake or pond to develop toxic algae blooms.  The alternatives that are allowed are Alum buffered with Sodium Aluminate, this blend can be extremely toxic to fish and there have been two major fish kills from the introduction of these technologies to Washington Lakes in the past few years.  This has occurred when the buffer Sodium Aluminate is added to the mix.  This compound is extremely dangerous to handle.  There are over 20 published papers in peer reviewed scientific journals that support the operational use of this technology, it should be considered operational so there are alternatives to the more toxic technologies to turn back phosphorus pollution.

In the past decades, Sonar aquatic herbicide has been used to effectively eradicate the invasive aquatic weed Eurasian Milfoil using a whole lake treatment scenario.  This practice would effectively be banned by this permit.  The laws in Washington State prohibit actions that would impair the control of noxious aquatic weeds and not having access to this technology where appropriate would impair Eurasian Milfoil Control Efforts.  In addition, there has been one infestation of Hydrilla in Washington State and that infestation was eradicated using whole lake treatment technology.  If Hydrilla returns, and as a Class A noxious weed its eradication is mandated, this permit will limit the ability to attack this plant.

Please give this some thought and consider posting comments.