Department of Ecology News Release - May 2, 2016

New wastewater permit for fruit packers up for review

UNION GAP – A general wastewater permit for the fresh fruit packing industry is being updated for 191 facilities across Washington.

The Department of Ecology permit provides assurance that fruit packers are protecting nearby lakes, rivers and groundwater when managing the wastewater coming from their facilities. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES, permit is required for new or existing fresh fruit packing facilities in the state, and is updated every five years.

The draft permit is available for review and comment through June 17. It outlines uniform treatment and disposal methods for the industry. Two hearings are scheduled for May 18 and 19 to go over new requirements under the general permit. Also, training will be offered to facilities on how to report data using online services.

Fruit packers are operating under an administrative extension of the existing permit while the update is underway. Extra time has been taken to complete an economic impact analysis that compares the costs of compliance for small and large businesses.

The introduction of a new fungicide for use by the industry is also taken into consideration in the permit. Wastewater will be stored in lined evaporative lagoons when the proposed fungicide, difenoconazole, is used in drenching and packing line processes. This will allow data to be collected and disposal risks associated with the fungicide to be analyzed, without delaying the renewal of the permit.

You may download a copy of the draft permit and fact sheet or may request a copy and submit comments addressed to Cynthia Huwe, 509-457-7105 or email cynthia.huwe@ecy.wa.gov. Comments may also be given during the public meetings.

Workshop hearings and trainings
Date: Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Time: 9 a.m. to noon, workshop hearing; 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., training on online reporting
Location: Ecology Central Regional Office, 1250 Alder St., Union Gap

Date: Thursday, May 19, 2016
Time: 10 a.m. to noon, training on online reporting; 1 to 4 p.m., workshop hearing
Location: Chelan Co. Fire District No. 3, Community Fire Hall, 228 Chumstick Highway, Leavenworth.

Contact:

Joye Redfield-Wilder, communications, 509-575-2610; @ecyCentral