A controversial new permit governing Washington boatyards is going back to the drawing board in the wake of reaction from stakeholders.
The Boatyard General Permit, which governs about 100 boatyards around the state, was expected to be implemented this month and would impose stricter water standards but also give struggling boatyards more time to meet the new requirements.
After receiving 80 pages of written comments from boatyards, port authorities, trade groups, environmental organizations and others, the state Department of Ecology, which issues the permit, is considering revising the draft document. Gary Bailey, Ecology’s water quality permit specialist, said he is putting together a report detailing possible changes to the permit, which will go to Ecology management for review and a decision.
The draft permit proposes stricter benchmarks for copper and zinc but a more lenient limit for lead (benchmarks are considered target levels and are not legally enforceable, while limits are legally enforceable levels). The permit also sets the same benchmarks for boatyards on both freshwater and saltwater. Many boatyards would need to install costly treatment systems, which can cost upward of $100,000, to meet the new standards.