BIA of Clark County and the counties of Pierce, King, Snohomish and Clark, and cities of Seattle and Tacoma, along with a number of smaller Phase II jurisdictions concluded their case in chief this week challenging various aspects of Ecology’s Phase I (and Phase II) municipal stormwater permit. Appellants provided the Pollution Control Hearings Board with multiple witnesses explaining their various concerns with Ecology’s “grand experiment” for requiring LID techniques with permeable pavement being the first BMP of choice. Witnesses testified to spectacular failures of LID systems, the expensive costs of maintenance of LID systems (especially permeable pavement) and the infeasibility of using such techniques when certain conditions exist. Over the past two weeks, a theme definitely emerged that people want to use LID, but only where it is both practically and economically feasible. And the way the permit is drafted it takes away the local discretion for feasibility preferring to move to the prescriptive approach mandated which LID should be used first with little avenues without going through costly site by site analysis to deviate from the list.
All of the local governments, large and small, testified about the limited resources they had to commit to such experiments especially in light of the fact that they have been laying off staff to make budget. BIA’s witnesses testified to the cost to the private sector and the potential liability associated with failing systems.
The case resumes next Monday with Respondent-Intervenors, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, et al., putting up their witnesses before turning to Ecology to present their defense.
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