The Washington State Department of Ecology, or simply, Ecology, is an environmental regulatory agency for the State of Washington. The department administers laws and regulations pertaining to the areas of water quality, water rights and water resources, shoreline management, toxics clean-up, nuclear waste, hazardous waste and air quality. It also conducts monitoring and scientific assessments.
The agency has an operating budget of approximately $459 million, a capital budget of approximately $325 million and close to 1600 employees The Department's authorizing statute is RCW 43.21A. It is responsible for administering the Shoreline Management Act (RCW 90.58), the Water Code (RCW 90.03), the state Water Pollution Control Act (RCW 90.48), the state Clean Air Act (RCW 70.94), and the Model Toxics Control Act.
Appeals of Ecology's decisions are made to the Environmental Hearings office, which includes the Pollution Control Hearings Board and the Shoreline Hearings Board, as well as several boards that address appeals of decisions by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Natural Resources.
Ecology has its headquarters office in Lacey, Washington, near Olympia and abutting the campus of St. Martin's University. It has four region offices located in Lacey (Southwest Region), Yakima (Central Region), Bellevue (Northwest Region) and Spokane (Eastern Region).
The Department Director is appointed by the Governor and subject to confirmation by the state Senate.
The Department of Ecology was created in 1970, in response to the rise of environmental concerns in the state.