University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Administrative Policy Statement

Pollution Control

(Approved by the Executive Director of Health Sciences Administration by authority of Executive Order No. 1 and by the Senior Vice President for Finance and Facilities by authority of Administrative Order No. 9)

1.  Policy

The University of Washington is required to establish procedures to prevent water, soil, and air pollution in compliance with Washington State Department of Ecology rules under Chapter 173-201A WAC, Water Quality Standards for Surface Waters of the State of Washington; Chapter 173-200 WAC, Water Quality Standards for Ground Waters of the State of Washington; Chapter 173-360 WAC, Underground Storage Tank Regulations; Chapter 173-340 WAC, Model Toxics Control Act-Cleanup; Chapter 173-400 WAC, General Regulations for Air Pollution Sources; Chapter 173-220 WAC, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit Program; Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Regulation I, the terms of the UW Air Operating Permit; City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development, Director's Rule 2000-16, Construction Stormwater Control Technical Requirements Manual; as well as other City of Bothell, City of Tacoma, and other applicable local ordinances.

2.  Scope

This policy applies at all locations including the Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma campuses, jointly-owned facilities, all other University-owned property, University leased space, and temporary field operations and field trips that are under the control of University operations and staff.

The UW Bothell campus has special considerations related to co-location with Cascadia Community College and relationships with local jurisdictions and agencies that affect how this policy is implemented. Consult UW Bothell operating procedures and programs for implementation details.

The UW Tacoma campus has special considerations related to local jurisdictions and agencies. Consult UW Tacoma operating procedures and programs for implementation details.

3.  UW Compliance Responsibility

It is University policy that each vice chancellor, vice president, dean, director, department chair, and supervisor is responsible for the health and safety performance in his or her respective units. This responsibility can neither be transferred nor delegated.

A.   Environmental Health and Safety Department

The Environmental Health and Safety Department (EH&S) is the liaison with regulatory agencies and has primary responsibility for providing guidelines regarding pollution prevention by interpreting applicable federal, state, and local regulations. This includes:

  • Overseeing and coordinating application of and compliance with environmental permits including, but not limited to, air and stormwater permits, Wastewater Discharge Authorizations, and NPDES permits.

  • Negotiating enforcement issues with regulatory agencies.

  • Keeping campuses, organizational units, and departments informed of new standards, control techniques, and other pollution prevention information.

  • Providing assistance with specific problems encountered in meeting environmental standards.

  • Developing and maintaining the University Pollution Prevention Program. Performing periodic facility inspections, identifying pollution hazards, reviewing prevention policies, providing personnel training programs, and consulting on equipment controls.

  • Working with Facilities Services to develop the stormwater management program for the Seattle campus. Assisting the UW Bothell and the UW Tacoma campuses in development of stormwater management programs.

  • Facilitating the Montlake Landfill Oversight Committee.

  • Meeting regulatory reporting requirements.

B.   Capital Projects Office

For projects managed by the UW Capital Projects Office, the Capital Projects Office includes a hazard assessment of building sites in the design and construction process and ensures that contractual specifications address specifics of mitigating pollution during construction, including all necessary permitting and discharge authorizations. For UW capital projects not managed by the UW Capital Projects Office, a determination of responsibility and liability for pollution controls must be made in advance and on a project specific basis.

C.   Facilities Services

UW Facilities Services and EH&S develop the Stormwater Management Program; the Spill Prevention, Countermeasures and Contingency Plan; and implement the Air Operating Permit with associated reports. Facilities Services is responsible for ensuring all permitting requirements are met with assistance from EH&S.

D.   Campus, Organizational Unit, Department

Each campus, organizational unit, and department must identify areas of potential pollution. Each campus, organizational unit, and department that has identified potential pollution sources must:

  • Establish a written procedure that includes pollution control measures;

  • Ensure that personnel are properly trained to identify and control pollution sources;

  • Review pollution prevention information provided by EH&S and implement applicable procedures and control techniques;

  • Report releases to EH&S; and

  • Work with EH&S to develop a stormwater management program if appropriate.

4.   Compliance Procedures

A.   Stormwater Management

Stormwater runoff from streets, roof drains, parking lots, and construction activities, if not properly managed, may contribute to the degradation of surface water quality. Sediments, oils, and detergents are common examples of pollutants that need to be controlled in compliance with all applicable regulations and the University of Washington Stormwater Management Program.

Non-stormwater discharges and/or dumping into the University of Washington's stormwater system is prohibited, including the following types of discharges unless the stated conditions are met:

  • Discharges from potable water sources, including water line flushing, hyperchlorinated water line flushing, fire hydrant system flushing, and pipeline hydrostatic test water. Planned discharges shall be de-chlorinated to a concentration of 0.1 ppm or less, pH-adjusted if necessary, and volumetrically and velocity controlled to prevent resuspension of sediments in the storm system.

  • Dechlorinated swimming pool discharges. The discharges shall be dechlorinated to a concentration of 0.1 ppm or less, pH-adjusted and reoxygenated if necessary, and volumetrically and velocity controlled to prevent resuspension of sediments in the stormwater system. Swimming pool cleaning wastewater and filter backwash shall not be discharged to the storm system.

  • Other non-stormwater discharges except those exempted by the state municipal stormwater permit.

The following discharges to the stormwater system must be minimized:

  • Discharges from lawn watering and other irrigation runoff.

  • Street and sidewalk wash water, water used to control dust, and routine external building washdown that does not use detergents. At active construction sites, street sweeping shall be performed prior to washing the street.

B.   Abandoned Hazardous Materials

Abandoned and unknown hazardous materials present a serious problem for the University. Without an accurate chemical name, chemicals can neither be handled nor disposed of in a safe manner.

Abandoned and unknown hazardous materials should be processed for collection and disposal as soon as possible following discovery. Any information, such as history and physical properties that can be provided will aid in the investigation and identification. Costs for analysis and disposal will be charged back to the department responsible for generating or storing the hazardous materials.

C.   Contaminated Sites Including Underground Storage Tanks

The discovery of suspected environmental contamination during construction activities will require follow-up environmental investigation and reporting. A hazard assessment of a contaminated construction site must be included in the early phase of planning to determine associated costs such as sampling, analytical testing, disposal, services of an environmental consultant, and contract document specifications. Costs associated with environmental assessment and follow-up are project costs.

D.   Management Plan for Montlake Landfill

The site known as the Montlake Landfill is a closed and capped municipal solid waste landfill. Soil, groundwater, methane, and sensitive wetland areas are issues of concern on the landfill. Consequently, during earth grading and construction these are factors that must be taken into account for safety and regulatory compliance. Development and maintenance in this area must be approved by the Montlake Landfill Oversight Committee and be conducted according to the Operational Guidance for Maintenance and Development Practices Over the Montlake Landfill. Methane mitigation will be required.

E.   Tacoma Campus Site

The area defined by the boundaries of the UW Tacoma campus was previously used for some industrial purposes, including a hazardous waste disposal facility. As a result, there is soil and ground water contamination on this and surrounding property. The University has entered into an Agreed Order with the Department of Ecology to investigate and clean up site contamination on the Tacoma campus. UW construction coordinator/project managers, consultants, and contractors need to work with EH&S and give full consideration to all environmental requirements for contaminated sites including sampling, analytical testing, site investigation, storm and ground water management, waste disposal, and worker protection.

F.   Ground Water Contamination

The University will protect existing and future beneficial uses of the ground water through the reduction or elimination of the discharge of contaminants to the state's ground waters. Suspected or known ground water contamination must be reported to EH&S. EH&S will provide required reports to appropriate regulatory agencies. Known ground water contamination will require environmental assessment, further analytical testing, and an approved treatment or discharge plan approved by the regulatory agency.

G.   Permits

1) Air—The Puget Sound Clean Air Authority has issued an Air Operating Permit to the University with requirements for compliance activities and record keeping for air contaminant sources that may cause or contribute to air pollution. Sources that may require additional and/or modifications to existing permits and registration include, but are not limited to, boilers, paint spray booths, incinerators, special process capture exhaust, and asbestos. The Environmental Protection Agency oversees the University's use and tracking of CFCs. Any requests for or modifications to permits or reports to the EPA must be directed to EH&S.

2) Stormwater—The Department of Ecology has issued a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for stormwater discharged from the stormwater systems owned and operated by the University of Washington for both the Seattle campus and the UW Bothell/Cascadia Community College campus.

3) Wastewater—Discharges to the sanitary sewer related to construction stormwater or dewatering require discharge authorizations and must meet specific criteria. Requests for discharge authorizations must be coordinated with EH&S.

5.   Additional Information

Questions regarding pollution and pollution prevention should be directed to the Environmental Health and Safety Department:

July 1981; July 8, 2003; February 14, 2008.