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Winery general permit

Washington is the second-largest wine-producing state in the nation. If not properly managed, corrosive wastewater from wineries can potentially harm aquatic life and even people.

Washington's first Winery General Permit regulates discharges of process wastewater from wineries to land, groundwater, and wastewater treatment plants. No surface water discharges are allowed under this permit.
 
The permit was issued on May 17, 2018, goes into effect on July 1, 2019, and expires on July 1, 2024.

Why did we develop a general permit for wineries?

The general permit supports both clean water and a robust wine industry. The new permit establishes wastewater management practices for wineries that prevent pollution and protect Washington waters. If not properly managed, process wastewater from wineries can:
  • Damage soil and crops.
  • Kill aquatic life.
  • Degrade the infrastructure in wastewater treatment plants.
  • Mobilize metals from the soil into ground water which can harm people.

Why doesn't the permit become effective until July 1, 2019? 

There are two reasons for the delayed effective date. The first is to allow time for wineries to come into compliance with the new permit. The second is to allow time to work with stakeholders on a process to determine fees for the winery permit.

We will continue to work closely with industry and interested people 

With the help of the wine industry, stakeholders, and input from the public, we developed a permit that contains good waste management practices for wineries. These practices will help protect groundwater, surface water, and wastewater treatment plants. 

Throughout the life of the permit, we will continue to:
  • Build cooperative relationships with winery owners and operators.
  • Gain a better understanding of the quantity and quality of wastewater discharges from Washington wineries.
  • Learn from permittees what practices and tools work best to effectively manage their wastewater.
See our Guidance and Resources section for more information on how we are continuing to work with our stakeholders.

Do I need a permit?

Use our decision tree to determine if you need a permit.

You may need coverage under the Winery General Permit if your facility:

  • Typically discharges more than 53,505 gallons of wastewater in a calendar year AND
  • Discharges winery process wastewater to one or more of the following:
    • Managed vegetation (irrigation)
    • A lagoon or other liquid storage structure
    • Road dust abatement
    • A subsurface infiltration system
    • An infiltration basin
    • A wastewater treatment plant
If you need a permit see the following information for how to apply for coverage.

Apply for permit coverage

Apply through Secure Access Washington (SAW) and use the WQWebPortal to submit your electronic Notice of Intent (NOI).

If you need more information about applying for coverage visit our WQ Web Portal Guidance page

Permit documents 

Guidance and resources 

Before the permit is effective (July 1, 2019), we intend to hold workshops to inform winery representatives how to:
  • Apply for permit coverage
  • Inspect their facilities
  • Document their progress
  • Implement best management practices
  • Report using Ecology’s web portal
Join our winery email listserv to receive updates, notices, and other information. 

We will also be developing guidance and templates for documents required in the permit to help permittees. We will update this page as we have more resources and send updates to our email listserv.  

Resources

Many answers to common questions can be found on our FAQ page. Also, the Fact Sheet that accompanies the permit can be used as a resource to search for a specific topic. 

Regional contacts

Central Region

For facilities located in the following counties:

Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas, Klickitat, Okanogan, and Yakima counties

Assistance with permit requirements or site-specific questions:

Matt Durkee
Mattew.Durkee@ecy.wa.gov
509-575-2821

Assistance applying for coverage, finding or completing forms, or drafting public notices:

Cindy Huwe
cynthia.huwe@ecy.wa.gov
509-457-7105

Mail forms to:

Attn: WQ Winery Permit Coordinator
Washington State Department of Ecology
Central Regional Office
1250 West Alder Street
Union Gap, WA 98903-0009

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