A new general permit released earlier this week by Washington state's Department of Ecology provides clarity for boatyards after recent strides by the Northwest Marine Trade Association to become a champion of clean water and environmental responsibility in the region.
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit that the ecology department issued Tuesday establishes benchmarks that all boatyards in the state must meet to eliminate contaminants in stormwater runoff. There is a specific focus on reducing copper and zinc levels.
"This is an incredibly aggressive permit for boatyards in Washington to meet," association president George Harris said. "Despite how difficult and, in some cases, expensive it will be to meet the new benchmarks, we believe it is a fair permit. We are pleased that the Department of Ecology recognized what boatyards may be able to achieve using the latest technology and our industry is eager to get to work to support our boatyards to meet their environmental responsibility."
The new permit becomes effective June 1.
While it awaited the release of the new permit, the association pushed its own initiatives to help the industry become better stewards of clean water in the region.