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Biosolids permit fee program report

The information on this page details the amount we collect from biosolids permit fees and the expenditures needed to support the state's biosolids program.

Facilities that work with domestic sewage and biosolids are required to pay an annual fee to support the state biosolids program, and new facilities must pay a permit review fee. The biosolids fee program was intended to support monitoring and evaluating biosolids operations, conducting inspections, and providing technical assistance.

Biosolids facilities

Currently, about 380 facilities are part of the state biosolids permit system. They range from very small, private facilities to the largest municipalities, and include state and federally owned facilities.

Most biosolids facilities are publicly owned sewage treatment works. Other permitted activities are land application or septage management. The state does not have jurisdiction over facilities or activities located on tribal lands unless they transport biosolids or sewage sludge into the state. Fees vary across facilities. All facilities pay a base fee, with some facilities paying more than others. In general, the bigger the wastewater treatment facility, and the larger the number of residences that contribute to the facility, the larger the fee.

The 1992 Legislature unanimously passed a bill requiring the state program (Chapter 70.97J RCW Municipal Sewage Sludge - Biosolids). The 1997 Legislature unanimously passed a bill allowing the permit fee program (WAC 173-308-320 Permit Fees).

The biosolids fee program was intended to support monitoring and evaluating operations, conducting inspections, and providing technical assistance. The biosolids program and services support:

  • Compliance with regulatory standards protects public health and the environment.
  • Compliance with regulations and use of good management practices improve public confidence in the safety of biosolids management.
  • Assistance for biosolids staff at wastewater treatment facilities provide, to help them understand regulations and good management practices. Ecology's technical assistance helps treatment plants avoid costs of hiring consultants or making costly mistakes.
  • Technical assistance for biosolids management and for managing other organic materials.
  • Addressing concerns about biosolids management.

Current and projected revenues and expenditures

  FY 16 FY 17 FY 18
FY 19
Fee Collection $1,037,564 $1,067,867 $1,006,994 $1,093,006
Number of Facilities 373 373 373 373
Expenditures $880,932 $887,093 N/A N/A
Appropriations $1,054,000 $1,054,000 $1,103,500 $1,103,500
FTEs* 9.2 7.7 N/A N/A