Water Quality Trading
Water Quality Trading
Water Quality Trading Rulemaking and Internal Management Directive Revision
DEQ is developing new rules for water quality trading. DEQ will propose these rules to the Oregon Environmental Commission, seeking approval at the commission's December 2015 meeting, after receiving feedback and input from three policy forums, as well as a public comment period. If adopted, these rules will strengthen the underpinnings of DEQ’s water quality trading program and provide clarity and regulatory certainty for both stakeholders and DEQ staff.
Along with the rulemaking, DEQ will revise its existing Internal Management Directive to incorporate new information and lessons learned since DEQ embarked on a trading program a decade ago. The directive provides guidelines to DEQ staff in handling water quality trading requests. It will serve as a companion document to the rule package.
Together the rules and the revised directive are intended to further DEQ’s efforts to: establish a credible, effective water quality trading program in Oregon, provide NPDES permit holders with cost-effective and sustainable ways to meet permit requirements, and accelerate watershed restoration and attainment of water quality goals.
The policy forum is a meeting where all stakeholders and interested members of the public may learn about water quality trading in Oregon and provide feedback on DEQ’s rulemaking and Internal Management Directive revision effort. With the policy forum DEQ aims to get a more diverse range of experience and opinions than could be accommodated using a traditional Advisory Committee process. The policy forum does not take the place of a public hearing held as part of the rulemaking process during the public notice and comment period.
Water Quality Trading Policy Forum - Save the Dates
DEQ invites stakeholders and interested members of the public to
participate in three policy forums on water quality trading in
Oregon: Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015, and
Thursday, March 5, 2015. At the forums, participants can learn about
and provide feedback on DEQ’s efforts to develop new rules and
revise existing guidance to strengthen and clarify Oregon’s water
quality trading program.
Participants may attend in-person or via web conference (web conference participants must log-in to both the conference call and the webinar):
Conference Call Information
Policy forum agendas and materials will be posted to this site on the Monday before the policy forum. For more information, please contact Courtney Brown by email or call 503-229-6839.
Water quality trading is an innovative program that allows facilities that discharge wastewater to a stream or river to meet regulatory obligations by:
Trading is based on the fact that dischargers in a watershed can face very different costs to control the same pollutant. Trading programs allow facilities facing higher pollution control costs to meet their regulatory obligations by purchasing environmentally equivalent (or superior) pollution reductions from another source at lower cost, thus achieving the same water quality improvement at lower overall cost. Trading may also allow Oregon to achieve water quality improvements more quickly than would otherwise be possible.
In December 2009, DEQ updated its guidance on water quality trading to encourage and expand the use of water quality trading in Oregon. The purpose of the updated guidance, which is formally known as an internal management directive or IMD, is to provide DEQ staff with a consistent framework for evaluating water quality trades implemented through the NPDES permit program. The IMD will also provide interested parties with information on the DEQ process for evaluating trading opportunities.
The update to the IMD clarified it is focused on NPDES permittees because DEQ expects the majority of trading activity to be driven by the need to comply with total maximum daily load wasteload allocations or other requirements in NPDES permits, such as mass load limitations. However, it may be used as a framework for trading in other situations.
Other Water Quality Trading Resources
For more information about Water Quality Trading contact Ranei Nomura by phone at 541-686-7799 or by email.