Compliance — Sequence of enforcement measures — Location of compliance personnel.
(1) The department shall, through a network of water masters appointed under this chapter, stream patrollers appointed under chapter 90.08 RCW, and other assigned compliance staff to the extent such a network is funded, achieve compliance with the water laws and rules of the state of Washington in the following sequence:
(a) The department shall prepare and distribute technical and educational information to the general public to assist the public in complying with the requirements of their water rights and applicable water laws;
(b) When the department determines that a violation has occurred or is about to occur, it shall first attempt to achieve voluntary compliance. As part of this first response, the department shall offer information and technical assistance to the person in writing identifying one or more means to accomplish the person's purposes within the framework of the law; and
(c) If education and technical assistance do not achieve compliance the department shall issue a notice of violation, a formal administrative order under RCW 43.27A.190, or assess penalties under RCW 90.03.600 unless the noncompliance is corrected expeditiously or the department determines no impairment or harm.
(2) Nothing in the section is intended to prevent the department of ecology from taking immediate action to cause a violation to be ceased immediately if in the opinion of the department the nature of the violation is causing harm to other water rights or to public resources.
(3) The department of ecology shall to the extent practicable station its compliance personnel within the watershed communities they serve. To the extent practicable, compliance personnel shall be distributed evenly among the regions of the state.
[2002 c 329 § 2.]