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Published on Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Water Quality Permit Fee Regulations Webinar

The Department of Ecology is proposing some changes to the water quality permit fee regulations that will affect cities that operate wastewater treatment systems. A meeting and webinar to explain and discuss the proposal is scheduled at 10 a.m., December 11, 2012. If you interested in participating, please notify Ann Ludlow to register for the meeting.

To register, contact Ann Ludlow at 360-407-6628 or alud461@ecy.wa.gov.  For information regarding the purpose and content of the meeting, please contact Mike Herold at 360-407-6434 or mher461@ecy.wa.gov


The Water Pollution Control Act, RCW 90.48.465, requires the Department of Ecology to collect enough fees to cover the cost of administering the water quality National Pollution Elimination Discharge System permit program. Currently, fees fall short and the ratio is not equitable between fee distribution and costs.

Fee increases are proposed for the categories that underpay for permit service. Underfunding in some categories is now being offset by revenue from different categories and, in some cases, funds from other revenue sources are being used to make up the difference. One of the fee categories that is not fully supporting the cost of existing service is the municipal wastewater treatment category.

Ecology is proposing to:  

  • Raise the annual fee cap in 2013, for municipal wastewater treatment plant permits from 18 cents to 20 cents per month per residential equivalent.
  • Raise permit fees by about 4.6 percent for the fee categories that are underpaying permit service costs in fiscal year 2014 and again in 2015.
  • In 2016, allow a minimum permit fee to capture some of the costs of supplying permits to smaller facilities. Many small POTWs would see an increase to cover a minimum fee.