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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Washington State Wastewater Discharge Permit (14-WA-e)

The Washington State Department of Ecology issues State Wastewater Discharge Permits in the state of Washington. Facilities that discharge wastewater pollutants to land must apply for a State Wastewater Discharge Permit. Industrial facilities that discharge wastewater to privately or publicly owned wastewater treatment plants must also obtain a State Wastewater Discharge Permit unless it has obtained a pretreatment discharge permit issued by a delegated municipality.


State Wastewater Discharge Permit Process

14-WA-e.1 to 14-WA-e.2 – Does the Project Require a NPDES Permit?

NPDES permits are required for discharges to surface water bodies. If there is also discharge that impacts ground water, then the requirements of a state waste discharge permit are incorporated into the NPDES permit.

State Wastewater Discharge Permit requirements and NPDES permit requirements will under normal circumstances be consolidated into a single document. If the project requires the developer to obtain a NPDES permit, then the developer should proceed with the NPDES permitting process. WAC 173-216-140.

State NPDES Permitting Process:
14-WA-b

14-WA-e.3 to 14-WA-e.4 – Is the Discharge Exempt from Permitting Requirements?

If the developer’s project falls within the exemptions listed under WAC 173-216-050, then a State Wastewater Discharge Permit is not required.

The following discharges do not require permits:

  • Discharges to municipal sewerage systems of domestic wastewater from residential, commercial, or industrial structures;
  • Any industrial or commercial discharge to a municipal sewerage system for which authority to issue permits has been granted to the municipality under RCW 90.48.165;
  • Any industrial or commercial discharge to a municipal sewerage system operating under, and in compliance with, the applicable requirements of a local pre-treatment program approved under section 307 of FWPCA and WAC 173-216-150;
  • Discharges to municipal sewerage systems of wastes from industrial or commercial sources whose wastewater is similar in character and strength to normal domestic wastewater. The discharges must not have the potential to adversely affect performance of the system;
  • Discharges for which a NPDES permit from the WSDE is required pursuant to WAC 173-220;
  • Discharges which are otherwise subject to the permit requirements of this chapter but which are covered under a general permit issued pursuant to WAC 173-226; and
  • Discharges of domestic wastewater from a septic tank with subsurface sewage treatment and disposal and an ultimate design capacity less than or equal to fourteen thousand five hundred gallons per day.

14-WA-e.5 – Application for State Wastewater Discharge Permit, Cover Letter, Engineering Report, and Fee

An application for a State Wastewater Discharge Permit must include results of analyses of pollutants in the effluents, effluent toxicity data, and other technical information about a facility and its operating procedures. Permit applications may also include detailed engineering and environmental reports. The WSDE may require the developer to conduct studies to gather more information about their processes and discharges before an application is accepted.

The developer must include the following in the application packet:

WAC 173-216-070(4).

14-WA-e.6 – Review Application Materials for Completeness

The WSDE will review the application materials for completeness. The WSDE may request additional information following review.

14-WA-e.7 – Provide Public Notice of Application

The developer is responsible for providing public notice of the application and seeking comments from interested and potentially interested persons. WAC 173-216-090(1). The developer is required to publish public notice once each week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county of the proposal. WAC 173-216-090(3).

The public notice must include at least the following:

  • Name, address, and phone number of the WSDE office responsible for issuing the permit;
  • Name and address of the developer, and if different, of the facility or activity to be permitted;
  • Brief description of the developer’s activities or operations which result in the discharge described in the application;
  • Brief description of the discharge point(s);
  • A statement of any tentative determination to issue or deny a permit for the discharge described in the application;
  • A brief description of the procedures for the formulation of final determinations, including the thirty-day comment period required and any other means by which interested persons may influence or comment upon those determinations; and
  • Address and phone number of the WSDE office which interested persons may obtain further information. WAC 173-216-090.

14-WA-e.9 – Affidavit of Publication

The developer must provide the WSDE with an affidavit proving publication of the notice.

14-WA-e.10 – Comment on Application

The public may submit written comments on the application for thirty days following publication of the notice. WAC 173-216-090(6)&(7).

14-WA-e.11 to 14-WA-e.13 – Is there a Request for Public Hearing?

The WSDE will conduct a public hearing if one is requested. The WSDE will provide public notice of any public hearing at least 30 days prior to the date of the hearing.

Any interested person may request a public hearing on the application. The request for public hearing must be filed within the thirty-day comment period and must indicate the interest of the party filing the request and the reasons why a hearing is warranted. WAC 173-216-100(1).

The public notice of a hearing must include the following:

  • Name, address, and phone number of the WSDE office holding the public hearing;
  • The purpose of the hearing;
  • Name and address of the developer;
  • A brief description of the point(s) of discharge;
  • Information regarding the time and location for the hearing;
  • A brief description of the nature of the hearing;
  • A concise statement of the issues raised by the persons requesting the hearing, when applicable;
  • A brief reference to the public notice issued for each application, including identification number and date of issuance; and
  • Address and phone number of premises at which interested persons may obtain information. WAC 173-216-100(6).

14-WA-e.14 – Review Comments

The WSDE will review any public comments received, and may apply conditions to the permit.

14-WA-e.15 – Evaluate Discharges

The WSDE must evaluate discharges from the project to determine if they are of high or low priority.

14-WA-e.16 – Are the Discharges High Priority?

If the discharges are of a high priority, then more detailed terms and conditions are required in the permit and further review is necessary.

14-WA-e.17 – Letter of Authorization

If the discharges are of a low priority, then the WSDE will issue a Letter of Authorization to the developer. The Letter of Authorization is valid for five years will allow the developer to continue with the project without further review.

14-WA-e.18 to 14-WA-e.19 – Develop Limits and Best Practices

Wastewater Discharge Permits must contain conditions that ensure a discharge will meet established water quality standards. Water quality standards are designed to protect the beneficial uses of the waters of Washington. Effluent limitations are specific restrictions on the volume and concentration of certain pollutants that can be discharged. Effluent limitations must be either technology-based or water-quality based. Technology-based limitations are performance standards established under federal and state regulations. Water quality-based limitations are based on compliance with Washington water quality standards.

Limitations and conditions are outlined in the Fact Sheet. This section of the Fact Sheet describes both the scientific and legal basis on which the limits and conditions in the permit were derived.

Monitoring, recording, and reporting are required in most permits issued by WSDE to verify that treatment or control processes are functioning properly and that effluent limitations are being achieved.

14-WA-e.20 – Draft Permit, Fact Sheet, and Supporting Documents

The WSDE will issue a Draft Permit, Fact Sheet, and supporting documents to the developer following development of limits, special conditions, and monitoring requirements.

14-WA-e.21 – Provide Public Notice of Draft Permit

When the Draft Permit is complete, a public notice of Draft Permit is published by WSDE in the legal classified section of major newspapers in the geographic area of the discharge.

14-WA-e.22 – Comment on Draft Permit

The public may submit comments to WSDE on the terms and conditions of the Draft Permit following public notice of the Draft Permit. The comment period for a Draft Permit lasts 30 days.

14-WA-e.23 to 14-WA-e.25 – Is there a Request for Public Hearing?

The WSDE will conduct a public hearing if one is requested. WSDE will provide public notice of any public hearing at least 30 days prior to the date of the hearing.

Any interested person may request a public hearing on the application. The request for a public hearing must be filed within the thirty-day comment period and must indicate the interest of the party filing the request and the reasons why a hearing is warranted. WAC 173-216-100(1).

The public notice of a hearing must include the following:

  • Name, address, and phone number of the WSDE office holding the public hearing;
  • The purpose of the hearing;
  • Name and address of the developer;
  • A brief description of the point(s) of discharge;
  • Information regarding the time and location for the hearing;
  • A brief description of the nature of the hearing;
  • A concise statement of the issues raised by the persons requesting the hearing, when applicable;
  • A brief reference to the public notice issued for each application, including identification number and date of issuance; and
  • Address and phone number of premises at which interested persons may obtain information. WAC 173-216-100(6).

14-WA-e.26 – Review Comments

The WSDE reviews and evaluates all comments and information regarding a Draft Permit following the comment period.

14-WA-e.27 – State Wastewater Discharge Permit

The State Wastewater Discharge Permit must specify conditions necessary to prevent and control waste discharges into the waters of the state. The maximum duration for this permit is five years. Any person may, on request, obtain a copy of the WSDE’s final decision on the application.

14-WA-e.28 – Notice of Issuance

The WSDE must mail a Notice of Issuance to the developer and other parties of record upon issuance of a State Wastewater Discharge Permit.




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