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Another MTA Steps Up

State and regional marine trades associations are continually finding ways to serve and support their members. Witness the Seattle-based Northwest Marine Trade Association and its recent action to help boatyards meet daunting new permitting requirements.

A new Boatyard General Permit required by the Washington State Department of Ecology (ECY) went into effect Sept. 1. It requires all boatyards to complete a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan, have it on file and be able to produce a copy within 14 days upon request.

“We believed we could find a way to make it easier for our members to tackle this formidable need, so we decided that investing in the creation of an SWPPP template would prove most valuable for our members,” says NMTA president George Harris. “Essentially, the SWPPP template is a tool that significantly reduces the complexity of the permit parameters for our boatyards and marinas.”

The Boatyard General Permit falls under the federal Clean Water Act. Washington is the delegated entity to carry out the federal requirements for clean water protection. As a delegate, the state must adhere to strict limits and benchmarks that are embodied in issuing a state permit.

According to Jay Jennings, NMTA vice president and director of government affairs, environmental engineers and attorneys have noted the existing boatyard permit has already been the toughest in the nation for the past 20 years. Now it’s more so. This has much to do with various Endangered Species Act listings in Puget Sound, such as chinook and southern resident killer whales.

The process to help boatyards hasn’t been easy. The Washington State ECY issued a draft permit 18 months ago that was simply unachievable for yards. So NMTA spearheaded work with ECY to come up with permit requirements that boatyards could meet. The permit must be reissued every five years, and provisions must essentially stay the same or get tougher, as environmental activists push for the latter.

The template has been well-received by NMTA members as a guide to compliance. However, facilities still have work to do to use the template for their individual sites. The template provides a bridge from the permit requirements to the reporting mechanism that documents the actions taken by each entity to prevent storm- and wastewater pollution.

Jennings cautions that the template is for permitted boatyards only. Lots of marine businesses consider themselves a “boatyard” because they have some space where they work on boats. However, NMTA defines boatyard as a business that has a boatyard general permit from ECY.

“We’re further encouraging boatyards with concerns or uncertainties to reach out to the Department of Ecology seeking a technical advisory visit, so permit inspectors can volunteer guidance on measures facilities should take to comply with the permit and document those in their SWPPP,” Jennings adds.

The template was developed by NMTA member Landau & Associates. It is a 65-page, editable and downloadable document. According to ECY, there are 61 permitted boatyards in Washington, and 41 are NMTA members.

This reinforces why every marine business should be a member of a local, state or regional marine trade association. MTAs around the country consistently perform in ways that advance and protect members.



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