FAQs about discharge approvals
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.
The following frequently asked questions provide an overview of wastewater discharge approvals.
As defined by King County Code, "'Industrial waste' shall mean any liquid, solid, or gaseous substance, or combination thereof, resulting from any process of industry, government agency, manufacturing, commercial food processing, business, agriculture, trade, or research, including but not limited to the development, recovery, or processing of natural resources, leachate from landfills or other disposal sites, decant water, contaminated non-process water, and contaminated stormwater and ground water."
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.
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.
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.
Answers to frequently asked questions about the permit application are located on the application form page.
The time it takes (either 60 or 90 days) to obtain approval to discharge depends upon the type and amount of wastewater a company discharges to the sewer.
Companies that are 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 non-categorical dischargers must apply at least 60 days prior to the start of discharge.
The sooner applicants contact KCIW to discuss their applications, the better!
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.
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.