Growth Sectors

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storm drainIn 1994, environmental consulting firms in Washington posted sales of $8 million. In 2013, the statewide total was $264 million.

That was an increase of 3200%. That’s astounding. But, that news might not surprise you if you are worried about new Washington state stormwater regulations – or, new City of Seattle stormwater regulations, or new state regulations for fish consumption, or the Duwamish Superfund.

You probably helped pay for the 3200% increase if you know about any of those things. You are probably also paying someone to respond to two deadlines in July regarding proposed changes in stormwater regulations.

But, if you would like some free advice, you might be able to find it through AMEC, an environmental consulting firm that is a valued Seattle Industry partner.

The AMEC newsletter is available here AMEC staff members are also available to help. Patrick Hsieh can be reached at 206-342-1773; Brian Taylor is available at 206-838-8468.

Patrick can also be reached by email at Brian’s email is

July 14 is the new deadline for comments on proposed state stormwater regulations. You have until the end of July to comment on proposed changes in the City of Seattle stormwater code.

You might think only one set of rules would be required to manage stormwater runoff. But, if you think that, you probably aren’t paying attention. Under the federal Cleanwater Act, the state is the lead authority to establish basic stormwater regulations, but cities can add additional stormwater regulations. So, naturally, they do.

This legal lattice acquired a new layer of complexity last summer when inspectors for the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) started enforcing the Washington state stormwater requirements at some industrial sites within the City of Seattle. EPA engagement was not just a bureaucratic wrinkle. The feds bring a different philosophy to enforcement than the state does – along a stiffer penalty schedule.

The AMEC newsletter includes good information about what this all means to business owners and operators. The community-based organization ECOSS is also a good resource. Contact Kevin Burrell from ECOSS at 206-762-0432, extension 1006.  Find more information online at the ECOSS website or the DOE stormwater website.

The sales information for environmental consulting firms comes from the Washington State Department of Revenue. It is based on the gross business revenues that every company must report to the state for its operations in Washington. The reports are used by the state to calculate B&O tax liability.

The sharp rise in business for environmental consultants did not happen in a vacuum, of course. Over the past 20 years, sales revenue for testing labs also grew, from $99 million to $298 million (up 200%). Some of that business growth resulted from tests required to gauge environmental compliance. But, part of that increase is also due to the rise in drug testing.

Then again, the rise in drug testing probably reflects some are seeking pharmaceutical relief to cope with the growing complexity of environmental regulations.