Industrial wastewater discharge approvals - an overview
All dischargers that generate and dispose of industrial wastewater to the King County sewer system must get approval prior to discharging from the Industrial Waste Program.
Overview: If your operation discharges process wastewater to a Publically Owned Treatment Works, such as a county treatment plant, then you have specific responsibilities that are defined in the Clean Water Act and its associated regulations. Following is an overview of frequently asked questions (FAQ) about approvals. KCIW encourages inquiries from those wanting to learn more about discharging industrial wastewater to the King County sewer system (see contact information, left).
What is industrial waste?
Industrial waste is a generic term for any waste material (solid, gas, or liquid) generated by a commercial, industrial, or nonresidential activity.
Is my business/facility considered a discharger of industrial wastewater?
If your company or facility sends wastewater to the King County sewer system during manufacturing, remediation, cleaning, or rinsing processes, it is most likely industrial wastewater * and is subject to local, state and federal regulations, and you will be required to get discharge approval from the King County Industrial Waste Program.
*This waste differs from residential household wastewater which includes domestic sewage from toilets, showers, washing machines, and other activities.
How can my business or facility obtain approval to discharge?
Prior to discharging industrial waste to the King County sewer system, all dischargers that generate and dispose of industrial wastewater should contact the Industrial Waste Program
. Staff will discuss your operation with you. Potential dischargers will be sent a permit application package if a written discharge approval is necessary. The permit application is available on this site - but strongly consider discussing your operation and what information may need to be submitted with KCIW staff prior to developing an application.
What are the types of industrial wastewater discharge approvals?
The Industrial Waste Program issues several types of discharge approvals, and works with dischargers to determine which approval is needed. Approvals include permits, discharge authorizations, discharge letters, and verbal approvals. The type of approval is determined by the volume discharged, the nature of the business, the characteristics of the wastewater, and the potential risk to the treatment plant. The program gives specialized approvals
for some types of discharges.
How much advance notice is needed to obtain approval to discharge industrial wastewater?
The time it takes to obtain approval to discharge depends upon the type and amount of wastewater a company discharges to the sewer.
Companies planning to start discharging industrial wastewater from a new facility, or to start discharging wastewater from a new process at an existing operation, must file applications according to the following criteria: if the proposed operation will be subject to a federal categorical pretreatment standard, for instance metal finishing or centralized waste treatment, then the application must be filed at least 90 days prior to the start of discharge.
All dischargers must apply at least 60 days prior to the start of discharge.
How much does it cost to discharge industrial wastewater to King County?
There are fees
associated with the issuance and renewal of wastewater discharge permits, discharge authorizations, and Letters of Authorization. Fees are structured to cover the costs of drafting and issuing approvals. These fees are over and above the base sewer fees charged by the local sewer agency or monitoring charges by King County. There may also be a surcharge fee for high-strength waste.
What are the consequences for those discharging industrial wastewater without following law?
Managing wastewater properly is good for the water, the environment, and community health - and for businesses within the community. The Industrial Waste Program conducts enforcement activities for polluters as a deterrent to the high costs of polluting. Businesses or individuals who illegally discharge substances to the King County sewer system must pay for any damages and may be fined up to $10,000 per day per violation. Companies or facilities may also be charged for increased monitoring of their discharges and may be required to install upgraded equipment. Any business or facility receiving a fine will have its name and polluting activities published and prominently displayed in an advertisement in the King County newspaper with the highest distribution.