Puget Sound Nutrients General Permit

Discharges of excess nutrients, particularly nitrogen, to Puget Sound from domestic wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are significantly contributing to low oxygen levels in Puget Sound. As these WWTPs are contributing human sources of excess nutrients to Puget Sound, we must take action to control this pollution.

On Jan. 30, 2020, we announced our decision to move forward with developing a draft Nutrients General Permit in Puget Sound. The proposed Nutrients General Permit would apply to nearly 70 domestic WWTPs discharging to marine and estuarine waters of Puget Sound.  

The Nutrients General Permit will focus only on controlling nutrients and work in conjunction with the WWTPs’ existing individual permits. The exact permit conditions are still to be determined, but we will work with stakeholders throughout 2020 to develop a general permit draft. If you have questions about your facility and the proposed general permit, please contact your individual permit writer.

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Permit Advisory Committee

We convened a General Permit Advisory Committee to advise us in drafting general permit requirements for domestic wastewater treatment plants discharging directly to Puget Sound. This Advisory Committee is comprised of regional treatment plant representatives, State Agencies (including Ecology), the EPA, the environmental community, and Tribes. 

Over the course of several months, this committee will work to develop a suite of recommendations that will ensure progress towards nutrient reduction during the first permit term. These final recommendations will inform permit conditions that will be released for informal public comment in the preliminary draft. We are hopeful to release a full formal draft for public comment at the end of 2020, with the goal of permit issuance in 2021. The actual date of permit issuance will depend on the comments received during the formal public comment period.

Individual permits

Individual permits reissued during the Nutrients General Permit development period will contain facility specific nutrient requirements. These nutrient requirements will be replaced once the Nutrients General Permit is finalized. For WWTPs who would like more information on how this will impact your individual permit, please contact your permit writer.

45-day comment period for three Puget Sound WWTP Individual Permits with nutrient control requirements

We invite the public to review and comment on the proposed individual National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for the following three domestic wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) that discharge treated effluent to the waters of Puget Sound and the Salish Sea:

  • Birch Bay Water and Sewer District Wastewater Treatment Plant (Permit No. WA0029556).
  • Skagit County Sewer District No. 2 – Big Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant (Permit No. WA0030597)
  • Warm Beach Christian Camps and Conference Center Wastewater Treatment Plant (Permit No. WA0029904)

The 45-day public comment period is from June 10 to July 24, 2020. You may search for and view the draft permit and fact sheets at our permitting database or linked from the comment forms below. 

Comments may be submitted as follows:

Please direct any questions about the individual permits to Rachel McCrea, Water Quality Section Manager,  at Rachel.mccrea@ecy.wa.gov  or 425-295-5737.

General Permit documents

As we develop draft general permit documents, they will be available here. 

  • Public comments from our preliminary determination to develop Nutrients General Permit.