173-201A-200  <<  173-201A-210 >>   173-201A-230

Marine water designated uses and criteria.

The following uses are designated for protection in marine surface waters of the state of Washington. Use designations for specific water bodies are listed in WAC 173-201A-612.
(1) Aquatic life uses. Aquatic life uses are designated using the following general categories. It is required that all indigenous fish and nonfish aquatic species be protected in waters of the state.
(a) The categories for aquatic life uses are:
(i) Extraordinary quality salmonid and other fish migration, rearing, and spawning; clam, oyster, and mussel rearing and spawning; crustaceans and other shellfish (crabs, shrimp, crayfish, scallops, etc.) rearing and spawning.
(ii) Excellent quality salmonid and other fish migration, rearing, and spawning; clam, oyster, and mussel rearing and spawning; crustaceans and other shellfish (crabs, shrimp, crayfish, scallops, etc.) rearing and spawning.
(iii) Good quality salmonid migration and rearing; other fish migration, rearing, and spawning; clam, oyster, and mussel rearing and spawning; crustaceans and other shellfish (crabs, shrimp, crayfish, scallops, etc.) rearing and spawning.
(iv) Fair quality salmonid and other fish migration.
(b) General criteria. General criteria that apply to aquatic life marine water uses are described in WAC 173-201A-260 (2)(a) and (b), and are for:
(i) Toxic, radioactive, and deleterious materials; and
(ii) Aesthetic values.
(c) Aquatic life temperature criteria. Except where noted, temperature is measured as a 1-day maximum temperature (1-DMax). Table 210 (1)(c) lists the temperature criteria for each of the aquatic life use categories.
Table 210 (1)(c)
Aquatic Life Temperature Criteria in Marine Water
Category
Highest 1-DMax
Extraordinary quality
13°C (55.4°F)
Excellent quality
16°C (60.8°F)
Good quality
19°C (66.2°F)
Fair quality
22°C (71.6°F)
(i) When a water body's temperature is warmer than the criteria in Table 210 (1)(c) (or within 0.3°C (0.54°F) of the criteria) and that condition is due to natural conditions, then human actions considered cumulatively may not cause the 7-DADMax temperature of that water body to increase more than 0.3°C (0.54°F).
(ii) When the natural condition of the water is cooler than the criteria in Table 210 (1)(c), the allowable rate of warming up to, but not exceeding, the numeric criteria from human actions is restricted as follows:
(A) Incremental temperature increases resulting from individual point source activities must not, at any time, exceed 12/(T-2) as measured at the edge of a mixing zone boundary (where "T" represents the background temperature as measured at a point or points unaffected by the discharge and representative of the highest ambient water temperature in the vicinity of the discharge); and
(B) Incremental temperature increases resulting from the combined effect of all nonpoint source activities in the water body must not, at any time, exceed 2.8°C (5.04°F).
(iii) Temperatures are not to exceed the criteria at a probability frequency of more than once every ten years on average.
(iv) Temperature measurements should be taken to represent the dominant aquatic habitat of the monitoring site. This typically means samples should not be taken from shallow stagnant backwater areas, within isolated thermal refuges, at the surface, or at the water's edge.
(v) The department will incorporate the following guidelines on preventing acute lethality and barriers to migration of salmonids into determinations of compliance with the narrative requirements for use protection established in this chapter (e.g., WAC 173-201A-310(1), 173-201A-400(4), and 173-201A-410 (1)(c)). The following site-level considerations do not, however, override the temperature criteria established for waters in subsection (1)(c) of this subsection or WAC 173-201A-612:
(A) Moderately acclimated (16-20°C, or 60.8-68°F) adult and juvenile salmonids will generally be protected from acute lethality by discrete human actions maintaining the 7-DADMax temperature at or below 22°C (71.6°F) and the 1-DMax temperature at or below 23°C (73.4°F).
(B) Lethality to developing fish embryos can be expected to occur at a 1-DMax temperature greater than 17.5°C (63.5°F).
(C) To protect aquatic organisms, discharge plume temperatures must be maintained such that fish could not be entrained (based on plume time of travel) for more than two seconds at temperatures above 33°C (91.4°F) to avoid creating areas that will cause near instantaneous lethality.
(D) Barriers to adult salmonid migration are assumed to exist any time the 1-DMax temperature is greater than 22°C (71.6°F) and the adjacent downstream water temperatures are 3°C (5.4°F) or more cooler.
(vi) Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted to prohibit the establishment of effluent limitations for the control of the thermal component of any discharge in accordance with 33 U.S.C. 1326 (commonly known as section 316 of the Clean Water Act).
(d) Aquatic life dissolved oxygen (D.O.) criteria. Except where noted, D.O. concentrations are measured as a 1-day minimum in milligrams per liter. Table 210 (1)(d) lists the D.O. criteria for each of the aquatic life use categories.
Table 210 (1)(d)
Aquatic Life Dissolved Oxygen Criteria in Marine Water
Category
Lowest 1-Day Minimum
Extraordinary quality
7.0 mg/L
Excellent quality
6.0 mg/L
Good quality
5.0 mg/L
Fair quality
4.0 mg/L
(i) When a water body's D.O. is lower than the criteria in Table 210 (1)(d) (or within 0.2 mg/L of the criteria) and that condition is due to natural conditions, then human actions considered cumulatively may not cause the D.O. of that water body to decrease more than 0.2 mg/L.
(ii) Concentrations of D.O. are not to fall below the criteria in the table at a probability frequency of more than once every ten years on average.
(iii) D.O. measurements should be taken to represent the dominant aquatic habitat of the monitoring site. This typically means samples should not be taken from shallow stagnant backwater areas, within isolated thermal refuges, at the surface, or at the water's edge.
(e) Aquatic life turbidity criteria. Turbidity is measured in "nephelometric turbidity units" or "NTUs." Table 210 (1)(e) lists the one-day maximum turbidity allowed as a result of human actions for each of the aquatic life use categories.
Table 210 (1)(e)
Aquatic Life Turbidity Criteria in Marine Water
Category
NTUs
Extraordinary quality
Turbidity must not exceed:
• 5 NTU over background when the background is 50 NTU or less; or
• A 10 percent increase in turbidity when the background turbidity is more than 50 NTU.
Excellent quality
Same as above.
Good quality
Turbidity must not exceed:
• 10 NTU over background when the background is 50 NTU or less; or
• A 20 percent increase in turbidity when the background turbidity is more than 50 NTU.
Fair quality
Same as above.
(i) The turbidity criteria established under WAC 173-201A-210 (1)(e) shall be modified, without specific written authorization from the department, to allow a temporary area of mixing during and immediately after necessary in-water construction activities that result in the disturbance of in-place sediments. This temporary area of mixing is subject to the constraints of WAC 173-201A-400 (4) and (6) and can occur only after the activity has received all other necessary local and state permits and approvals, and after the implementation of appropriate best management practices to avoid or minimize disturbance of in-place sediments and exceedances of the turbidity criteria. For estuaries or marine waters, the point of compliance for a temporary area of mixing shall be at a radius of one hundred fifty feet from the activity causing the turbidity exceedance.
(f) Aquatic life pH criteria. Measurement of pH is expressed as the negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration. Table 210 (1)(f) lists the pH levels allowed as a result of human actions for each of the aquatic life use categories.
Table 210 (1)(f)
Aquatic Life pH Criteria in Marine Water
Use Category
pH Units
Extraordinary quality
pH must be within the range of 7.0 to 8.5 with a human-caused variation within the above range of less than 0.2 units.
Excellent quality
pH must be within the range of 7.0 to 8.5 with a human-caused variation within the above range of less than 0.5 units.
Good quality
Same as above.
Fair quality
pH must be within the range of 6.5 to 9.0 with a human-caused variation within the above range of less than 0.5 units.
(2) Shellfish harvesting.
(a) General criteria. General criteria that apply to shellfish harvesting uses for marine water are described in WAC 173-201A-260 (2)(a) and (b), and are for:
(i) Toxic, radioactive, and deleterious materials; and
(ii) Aesthetic values.
(b) Shellfish harvesting bacteria criteria. To protect shellfish harvesting, fecal coliform organism levels must not exceed a geometric mean value of 14 colonies/100 mL, and not have more than 10 percent of all samples (or any single sample when less than ten sample points exist) obtained for calculating the geometric mean value exceeding 43 colonies/100 mL.
(i) Shellfish growing areas approved for unconditional harvest by the state department of health are fully supporting the shellfish harvest goals of this chapter, even when comparison with the criteria contained in this chapter suggest otherwise.
(ii) When averaging bacteria sample data for comparison to the geometric mean criteria, it is preferable to average by season and include five or more data collection events within each period. Averaging of data collected beyond a thirty-day period, or beyond a specific discharge event under investigation, is not permitted when such averaging would skew the data set so as to mask noncompliance periods. The period of averaging should not exceed twelve months, and should have sample collection dates well distributed throughout the reporting period.
(iii) When determining compliance with the bacteria criteria in or around small sensitive areas, it is recommended that multiple samples are taken throughout the area during each visit. Such multiple samples should be arithmetically averaged together (to reduce concerns with low bias when the data is later used in calculating a geometric mean) to reduce sample variability and to create a single representative data point.
(iv) As determined necessary by the department, more stringent bacteria criteria may be established for waters that cause, or significantly contribute to, the decertification or conditional certification of commercial or recreational shellfish harvest areas, even when the preassigned bacteria criteria for the water is being met.
(v) Where information suggests that sample results are due primarily to sources other than warm-blooded animals (e.g., wood waste), alternative indicator criteria may be established on a site-specific basis by the department.
(3) Recreational uses. The recreational uses are primary contact recreation and secondary contact recreation.
(a) General criteria. General criteria that apply to water contact uses for marine water are described in WAC 173-201A-260 (2)(a) and (b), and are for:
(i) Toxic, radioactive, and deleterious materials; and
(ii) Aesthetic values.
(b) Water contact recreation bacteria criteria. Table 210 (3)(b) lists the bacteria criteria to protect water contact recreation in marine water.
Table 210 (3)(b)
Water Contact Recreation Bacteria Criteria in Marine Water
Category
Bacteria Indicator
Primary Contact Recreation
Fecal coliform organism levels must not exceed a geometric mean value of 14 colonies/100 mL, with not more than 10 percent of all samples (or any single sample when less than ten sample points exist) obtained for calculating the geometric mean value exceeding 43 colonies/100 mL.
Secondary Contact Recreation
Enterococci organism levels must not exceed a geometric mean value of 70 colonies/100 mL, with not more than 10 percent of all samples (or any single sample when less than ten sample points exist) obtained for calculating the geometric mean value exceeding 208 colonies/100 mL.
(i) When averaging bacteria sample data for comparison to the geometric mean criteria, it is preferable to average by season and include five or more data collection events within each period. Averaging of data collected beyond a thirty-day period, or beyond a specific discharge event under investigation, is not permitted when such averaging would skew the data set so as to mask noncompliance periods. The period of averaging should not exceed twelve months, and should have sample collection dates well distributed throughout the reporting period.
(ii) When determining compliance with the bacteria criteria in or around small sensitive areas, such as swimming beaches, it is recommended that multiple samples are taken throughout the area during each visit. Such multiple samples should be arithmetically averaged together (to reduce concerns with low bias when the data is later used in calculating a geometric mean) to reduce sample variability and to create a single representative data point.
(iii) As determined necessary by the department, more stringent bacteria criteria may be established for waters that cause, or significantly contribute to, the decertification or conditional certification of commercial or recreational shellfish harvest areas, even when the preassigned bacteria criteria for the water is being met.
(iv) Where information suggests that sample results are due primarily to sources other than warm-blooded animals (e.g., wood waste), alternative indicator criteria may be established on a site-specific basis by the department.
(4) Miscellaneous uses. The miscellaneous marine water uses are wildlife habitat, harvesting, commerce and navigation, boating, and aesthetics.
General criteria. General criteria that apply in miscellaneous marine water uses are described in WAC 173-201A-260 (2)(a) and (b), and are for:
(a) Toxic, radioactive, and deleterious materials; and
(b) Aesthetic values.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 90.48.035. WSR 11-09-090 (Order 10-10), § 173-201A-210, filed 4/20/11, effective 5/21/11; WSR 06-23-117 (Order 06-04), § 173-201A-210, filed 11/20/06, effective 12/21/06. Statutory Authority: Chapters 90.48 and 90.54 RCW. WSR 03-14-129 (Order 02-14), § 173-201A-210, filed 7/1/03, effective 8/1/03.]
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