Water Quality Program
ROZA-SUNNYSIDE BOARD OF JOINT CONTROL
POLICIES AND PROGRAMS TO IMPROVE WATER QUALITY AND THE USE OF WATER
Approved March 16, 2010
1. Permit for discharges to Project Waterways
All discharges into project waterways (canals, laterals, drains, and wasteways operated and maintained by a RSBOJC member and for which an easement or right of way exists) may require a discharge permit at the discretion of the appropriate RSBOJC member. The discharge permit will be issued to a discharger and provide among other things, for:
A. Discharge into the project waterway through a piped inlet of specified size and type to be installed by the discharger or the appropriate RSBOJC member.
B. Maintenance of the piped inlet by the discharger so that it remains operational in a manner that no erosion occurs to the project waterway.
C. Timely (Immediate) corrective action to be taken by the discharger upon verbal or written notification from the appropriate RSBOJC member that the piped inlet is not operational and/or erosion is occurring to the project waterway.
D. Reimbursement by the discharger of any costs that may be incurred by the appropriate RSBOJC member in the installation of or corrective action to the piped inlet.
E. Periodic inspection of the piped inlet by the permit holder.
F. The termination of the discharge permit and the right to discharge into the waterways upon noncompliance of its terms and conditions.
2. Irrigation Runoff
RSBOJC has established a goal of 25 NTU target at the point where irrigation runoff leaves the RSBOJC boundaries.
A. All irrigation runoff discharged to project waterways either directly or indirectly from lands within RSBOJC boundaries must comply with targets established by the RSBOJC as follows: When a NTU reading exceeds 300 from a water sample, the discharger/operator (hereafter referred to as discharger) will be in violation of RSBOJC policy. Upon a determination of non-compliance, the discharger, upon written notification from the appropriate RSBOJC member, will implement appropriate corrective measures so that timely compliance is achieved.
B. During the irrigation season, the RSBOJC will monitor discharges leaving the property, take samples of discharges, conduct laboratory analysis, and record the turbidity levels. The discharger will be notified by the appropriate irrigation district of the results of each sample analysis. When the turbidity reading exceeds 300 NTU the discharger will be in violation of RSBOJC policy. The discharger will be notified of the noncompliance in writing by the appropriate irrigation district and will be required to agree to a Short and Long Term Plans.
C. The discharger must 1) develop and submit the Short Term Plan to the RSBOJC through the appropriate irrigation district and 2) the corrective actions specified in the Short Term Plan must be implemented within 10 days of the notice of violation or prior to the next irrigation application, whichever is shorter. If the Short Term Plan is not submitted or, after submittal and implementation follow up samples indicate the turbidity level is still out of compliance, the appropriate irrigation district will reduce the discharger’s water delivery at all delivery points within the violating parcel to a rate of 0.37 cfs (166 gpm) per 40 acres. If after this water delivery reduction, the discharger continues to be in violation of RSBOJC irrigation runoff policies, the water delivery rate will be further reduced to 0.25 cfs (112 gpm) per 40 acres until compliance with RSBOJC policy takes place or until the end of the irrigation season. However, the RSBOJC may reduce the discharger’s water delivery at all delivery points of the contiguous farm area to an appropriate rate as necessary to enforce its water quality regulations. Full water delivery shall be restored to dischargers having an accepted STP when the discharger notifies the appropriate irrigation district that the plan has been implemented and/or subsequent collection of one sample by the district representative and analysis confirms a water quality of 150 NTU or less. The district will make a reasonable effort to respond to requests for rate of flow restoration within 24 hours but no later than the next normal water delivery day.
D. The discharger who is notified of noncompliance must prepare, sign and submit a Long Term Plan prior to the following irrigation season. The Plan will include proposed practices or projects and a time schedule for implementation to achieve the water quality goal. The Plan will be signed by the discharger and accepted by the RSBOJC. If a discharger fails to enter into a Long Term Plan, water will not be turned on until a Long Term Plan is submitted and accepted. After a Long Term Plan is submitted and follow up water samples exceed the applicable water quality target or goal, the appropriate irrigation district will reduce the discharger’s water delivery to a rate of 0.37 cfs (166 gpm) per 40 acres until compliance is obtained. If after this water delivery reduction, the discharger continues to be in violation of RSBOJC irrigation runoff policies as indicated by water samples the water delivery rate will be further reduced to 0.25 cfs (112 gpm) per 40 acres until compliance is obtained. However, the RSBOJC may reduce the discharger’s water delivery at all delivery points of the contiguous farm area to an appropriate rate as necessary to enforce its water quality regulations. Full water delivery shall be restored consistent with the procedure stated in Policy 3.C.
E. The RSBOJC recognizes that in certain cases several landowners receive water delivery from a common delivery point and through a single conveyance facility. Enforcement of Policies 3.C. and 3.D. may be difficult against any one operator sharing a single facility. In these cases the appropriate irrigation district shall take appropriate action against the discharge violator(s) in a manner that does not penalize other users of the common facilities. Such action may include requiring that a separate/individual delivery be installed to the discharger in violation at the discharger’s expense, or where this not practical, to seek a legal remedy.
F. A Long-Term Plan accepted by the RSBOJC is considered to be binding only upon the discharger who submitted the Plan. Should this individual sell the subject property or otherwise cease to be the operator of the farming operation, the Plan is automatically terminated. Should violation of RSBOJC irrigation runoff policies as stated herein take place under new land ownership and/or operation, the policies will be enforced against the new individual.
G. An accepted Long Term Plan may be subsequently modified as to activity and schedule upon request and justification by the discharger and acceptance by the RSBOJC. Polyacrylamide (PAM) by itself is not an acceptable Long-Term Plan.
H. Any action of a RSBOJC representative under this water quality policy which results in an enforceable requirement by a discharger may be appealed to the RSBOJC Board. The discharger must notify the Board in writing within 30 days of the action and state the nature of the grievance and the relief requested from the Board. The enforceable requirement in question will be stayed pending review and action by the Board.
I. The RSBOJC recognizes that in most instances dischargers will require technical and financial resources to develop and implement Plans. Failure to seek or lack of availability of such public resources is not grounds for waiver of the Plan requirement. However, the RSBOJC will actively promote coordination among local, state, and federal programs that can provide such assistance to dischargers and seek expansion of these programs where they are inadequate to support RSBOJC water management goals.
J. The intent of this policy is to give landowners sufficient time to make corrections to improve water quality. In the event a landowner has water quality violations three years in a row on the same parcel under this policy, the water delivery to this parcel will be at and remain at 0.25 cfs per 40 acres (2.8 gpm/acre) until the end of the irrigation season. The Board at its discretion upon hearing the appeal of the water user can remove or modify the flow restriction
K. The drainage system will be inspected periodically to monitor channel erosion on the waterways and to identify areas where measures must be implemented in an annual maintenance program to reduce or eliminate the potential for channel erosion. Where erosion to the drainage system or irrigation system is caused by an owner / operator the costs incurred by the appropriate irrigation district will be billed to the owner / operator.
3. Buffer Zones for Project Waterway
Buffer zones consisting of project operation and maintenance roads or no-till grazing areas are required on both sides of RSBOJC project waterways. Where project operation and maintenance roads do not exist, the establishment and maintenance of appropriate buffer zones will be determined by the appropriate RSBOJC member in accordance with the policies stated below.
A. Livestock grazing on project waterways is prohibited. The RSBOJC will put the initial enforcement emphasis on the Joint Drain system. Where livestock grazing currently exists on the drains, the RSBOJC may construct and/or move existing fences to provide buffer zone on each side of the waterway. Typical buffer strips will be 20 feet from the fence to the edge of the top of the waterway bank. Actual width requirements may vary depending on the size of the waterway and width of the easement or right of way. The completed fence will be the property of the landowner. Priority for fencing will be on the basis of water quality protection and operation and maintenance of project waterways.
B. A no-till zone shall exist on both sides of an open project waterway. Implementation activities of this requirement will be prioritized based on protection of a project waterway. The landowner will be required to install a farm drainage ditch and drain inlets as needed to provide a no-till zone typically 20 feet wide from the top of the waterway bank to the edge of the farm operation. Actual width requirements may vary depending on the size of the waterway and width of the easement or right of way.
C. Establishment and maintenance of buffer zones will be accomplished by the enforcement of water quality goals, exercising the right to existing rights of way and easements, education, and financial assistance.
4. Water User Awareness Program
The RSBOJC, in cooperation with appropriate Federal, State, County, and River Basin entities, will formulate and implement a water user awareness program related to effective on-farm water management.
5. Water Quality Monitoring
The RSBOJC will conduct its water quality monitoring program with the following objectives:
A. Identify the annual and seasonal NTU values and TSS loads and other water quality characteristics of water diverted from the Yakima River into the RSBOJC.
B. Identify the variation in water quality characteristics of water throughout the conveyance and delivery system.
C. Identify TSS loads and other water quality characteristics of water discharged into RSBOJC project waterways.
D. Determine the effectiveness of implementation of on-farm Best Management Practices.
E. Provide quality control for individual water user water quality sampling programs as requested.
F. Coordinate with other agencies in the collection and analysis of water quality data.
6. Sedimentation Ponds and Wetland Areas
The RSBOJC will pursue the planning, construction, and operation of sedimentation ponds and wetland areas into RSBOJC project facilities to improve the quality of water within and exiting the RSBOJC.