The Environmental Quality Commission adopted rule amendments to correct water quality fees adopted in 2020.
The Water Quality Program’s mission is to protect and improve Oregon’s water quality. Protecting Oregon’s rivers, lakes, streams, and groundwater quality keeps these waters safe so they can be used for drinking water, fish habitat, recreation, and irrigation. DEQ accomplishes this by developing and implementing water quality standards and clean water plans, issuing water quality permits, regulating sewage treatment systems and industrial dischargers, collecting and evaluating water quality data, providing grants and technical assistance to reduce nonpoint pollution sources, and giving loans to communities to build treatment facilities.
DEQ needed to adjust the fees to align with the proper intent for previously adopted fees. The 2020 fee correction of 11 specific fee categories and one fee narrative that were adopted July, 2020 aligns the anticipated rise in administration costs associated with the permit program and to support policy option packages 122 and 127 of the 2019-21 Legislatively Adopted Budget. The specific fee errors were all typographical in nature, further, this correction properly aligns the phase one fees with the phase two fees that will take effect August 1, 2021. This correction will help DEQ advance its objective for a sustainable water quality program that issues timely, high quality permits. The fees also help ensure compliance with permit conditions by supporting inspections, enforcement, and reporting to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
In October each year, DEQ publishes a permit issuance work plan to identify the individual National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits DEQ intends to issue in the coming year. DEQ identified 51 permits for development in the 2021 federal fiscal year (Oct. 1- Sept. 30). Permit issuance updates are provided quarterly online.
DEQ must apply the corrected fees to invoices as of February 2021 to cover costs associated with implementing the permitting program and delivering services to regulated entities. Without this rule language correction, DEQ would have continued to assess the incorrect fees for 11 specific fee categories.
DEQ convened an advisory committee to provide input on the fiscal impact statement for the fee correction related to the regulation of NPDES and WPCF permits. DEQ presented proposed rules to the Environmental Quality Commission, or EQC, for adoption.
Meeting 1 - Monday, Nov. 30, 2020