We are required by law to collect fees from permit holders who have wastewater or stormwater discharge permits (RCW 90.48.465) to recover our cost of administering the permits.
Every two years we use a rulemaking process to review and update the fee amount and timing, called the Fee Schedule. During rulemaking, we review all permit fees to ensure program costs are being met and to move closer to payment equity between fee categories. We may also propose new permit fee categories or changes to the structure of specific permit fee categories. We hold a public comment period and a public hearing on proposed changes and to hear from stakeholders before finalizing the next Fee Schedule.
The most current Water Quality Permit Fee Schedule can be found on the legislative website.
Our billing cycle is by the state fiscal year (July 1 through June 30 annually)
- If your annual fee is $1,000 or greater, you can pay in full annually OR request a bi-annual schedule*.
- If the fee is less than $1,000, the full amount is billed at the beginning of the state fiscal year (July).
*The semi-annual billing cycle is not available for: Construction Stormwater general and individual permit holders, or those permit holders that self-report gross revenues of $10 million or greater on their annual fee information forms.
- First make sure that the correct permit holder/signatory information is on file, this will prevent delays (see information above).
- Contact your Permit Administrator (listed in SAW) to start the Notice of Termination process.
Construction Stormwater General Permit holders may submit a Notice of Termination (NOT) form to the Fee Unit, when you are ready to cancel your permit. An inspection may be required, as determined by the Permit Administrator. The permit termination process usually takes approximately 30 days. For more information, please visit the Construction Stormwater General Permit webpage.
Industrial Stormwater General Permit holders may submit a Notice of Termination (NOT) form to the Fee Unit, when you are ready to cancel your permit. An inspection may be required, as determined by the Permit Administrator. The permit termination process usually takes approximately 60 days. For more information, please visit the Industrial Stormwater General Permit webpage.
All other permit holders (Wastewater and other types of Stormwater coverage) may request a termination of coverage through their assigned Permit Administrator. There may be paperwork for you to complete and submit back to your Permit Administrator to complete the process.
What do my fees pay for?
The fees we collect fund the operation of the Water Quality Wastewater and Stormwater Discharge Permit Programs.
Some of the things funded include:
- Processing permit applications and modifications
- Monitoring and evaluating compliance with permits
- Conducting inspections
- Re-issuing general permits
- Securing laboratory analysis of samples taken during inspections
- Reviewing plans and documents directly related to pretreatment programs
- Supporting the overhead expenses that are related to these activities
We are required to publish a report every other year that explains the use of permit fees. Read the latest report.
What if I don't pay my invoices?
Permit fees are a written condition of the permit and required by law. Permit holders who do not pay the fee by the billing due date are considered delinquent. Delinquent permit holders are mailed past due notices several times each year. After several notices, if payment is not received the account may be sent to collections and subject to permit enforcement action. The collection agency typically adds a surcharge of 20 to 30 percent. A permit enforcement action may include the assessment of penalties.
As a last resort, we may terminate the permit for nonpayment. We work closely with the permit holder and the permit staff to avoid this situation.
Some permit types are required to submit annual information that details their production amounts, or their gross revenue, or their residential equivalents or housing units (examples include, but are not limited to, fruit packers, wineries, municipalities, private treatment plants, sand & gravel, industrial stormwater, etc.).
We will make these forms available annually by email, mail, or online through the webportal. There will be a due date on the forms. There are instructions included for how to fill out and submit the forms. We use this information to determine the next fiscal year fee.
If we do not receive a completed information form (signed by the permit holder on file and including any necessary documentation), we are required by rule to assess the highest fee associated with each permit holder’s fee category. Permit Fee Unit staff are always available to answer questions.
A business* may apply for a small business fee reduction if it:
- Is a corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or other legal entity formed for the purpose of making a profit.
- Is independently owned and operated from all other businesses (that is, not a subsidiary of a parent company).
- Has annual sales of one million ($1,000,000.00) dollars or less of the goods and services produced using the processes regulated by the wastewater discharge permit.
- Pays an annual wastewater discharge permit fee greater than five hundred ($500.00) dollars.
If you are interested in submitting an application, please email a request to email@example.com.
*Note: Fee reductions are not available to construction stormwater general and individual permit holders, or industrial stormwater general permit holders (WAC173-224-090).