For operators: Biosolids fees, forms, & annual reports
We are issuing a new statewide general permit for biosolids management on June 15, 2022. It becomes effective July 15, 2022.
This information is for wastewater treatment operators and biosolids managers to apply for permit coverage and comply with Washington’s biosolids program.
* Required from new facilities operating only under the baseline section of the permit, and for existing baseline facilities for significant modifications that will remain operating under the baseline section of the permit.
2023 fee schedule
Permit application review fee: $3,203.67
First "residential equivalent:" $1,067.89
Cost per additional residential equivalent up to 100,000: $0.38
Cost per additional residential equivalent when 100,000 or more: $0.29
All facilities subject to Washington’s biosolids program must pay an annual fee. Any facility that exports biosolids into Washington from outside Washington is assessed the same fee that would be assessed if it were located in the state.
We send invoices once or twice a year. Payment is due within 45 days of receipt. Failure to pay the fee is cause for revocation of permit coverage.
Annual reports from biosolids facilities serve three purposes:
- They are an information and compliance tool for our inspectors.
- We compile data from these reports to create a picture of the statewide program.
- They may be of interest to third parties, who can receive information through the public disclosure process.
Submit your annual report online
Permit holders must submit their report electronically. Hard copy reports are not accepted. You must request approval to access your report for the first time. After that, you can log in directly through SAW.
Please follow instructions for accessing and submitting your report.
It’s very important to submit your annual report completely, correctly, and on time. The quality of your annual report is a reflection on you and your facility. Make it good!
Who can fill out your facility’s annual report?
Your facility’s responsible official is accountable for all information in the report, including for enforcement actions for reports that are late, incorrect, or missing information. Anyone authorized to access the report — an operator, technician, or office manager — can fill it out on behalf of the facility. However, only the responsible official, or a person properly delegated (in writing) by the responsible official, can submit the report.
We will notify permit holders through our biosolids email list when the report system is ready, in late December or early January.
Only facility personnel have direct access to the annual report system. Access is granted by email request and requires a Secure Access Washington (SAW) account. Authorizations do not need to be renewed every year. We will include instructions about accessing the report, how to complete the report, common problems, and frequently asked questions when notice of availability is sent out from the email list.
Annual reports for the previous calendar year are due to Ecology by March 1.
If you owe a report to EPA, it is due by February 19. EPA uses a different online system to collect report information. For more information about your federal annual report, go to EPA's Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO).
How is my fee determined?
Fees are based on a "residential equivalent" (RE) value. For facilities with an NPDES or State Waste Discharge permit, we use the RE value determined by our Water Quality Program.
New RE values are determined annually, based on data from our Water Quality Program or as reported by facilities. The fee schedule also incorporates the annual fiscal growth factor (FGF) determined by the Washington State Expenditure Limit Committee.
Although the FGF represents an annual increment to the fee, in practice we have often not pursued that increase. Increases based on the FGF are also subject to approval by the Office of Financial Management. Any requested increase above the FGF must be approved by the State Legislature.
Some facilities, such as independent composters and certain facilities that receive and treat septage or a combination of septage and biosolids, do not have permits issued by our Water Quality Program. In those cases, we calculate an RE value based on the facility's operations. This could be based on fractional contributions of biosolids from various sources and/or the conversion of gallons of septage to residential equivalents.
Receiving only facilities
"Receiving only" facilities accept biosolids for further treatment or for application to the land, but they are not primary generators of biosolids. Examples include beneficial use facilities that only apply biosolids to land permitted for this purpose, as well as compost facilities not associated with a wastewater treatment plant.
If you are a "receiving only" facility, your fee is based on the percentage of the RE value of each source from which you receive biosolids.
Septage management facilities
Septage management facilities are those that treat and/or apply only septage to the land. The RE value for septage management facilities is based on the gallons of septage received. One RE is assessed for every 1,250 gallons.
Permit Fee Program Report (as required by RCW 70A.226.030(4))
The 1992 Legislature unanimously passed a bill requiring the state program (Chapter 70A.226 RCW Municipal Sewage Sludge – Biosolids). The 1997 Legislature unanimously passed a bill allowing the permit fee program, after which Ecology established a fee structure (WAC 173-308-320 Permit Fees).
Our biosolids program is supported by permit fees. Facilities that work with domestic sewage and biosolids are required to pay an annual fee. They range from very small, private facilities to the largest municipalities, and include state and federally owned facilities.
Current and projected revenue and expenses
We use permit revenue to fund our staff to provide technical assistance, enforcement, and compliance inspections of permit applicants. This helps us keep pace with increased customer demands and population growth, and protect public health and the environment by properly managing biosolids. As in the past, we will work with the regulated community on possible fee increases.
Fiscal Year (FY)
FY 2023 (Anticipated)
Fee Revenue Collected
1 The number of FTEs listed includes both implementation and administrative staff.