Permit Fee Program Report (as required by RCW 70.95J.025(4))Ecology's biosolids program is supported by permit fees. Facilities that work with domestic sewage and biosolids are required to pay an annual fee to support the state biosolids program. New facilities must pay a permit review fee.
Currently, about 380 facilities are part of the state biosolids permit system. They range from very small, private facilities to the largest municipalities, and include state and federally owned facilities.
Most facilities are publicly owned sewage treatment works. Other activities are land application or septage management. The state does not have jurisdiction over facilities or activities located on tribal lands unless they transport biosolids or sewage sludge into the state. Fees vary. All pay a base fee, with some facilities paying more than others. In general, the bigger the waste water treatment facility, and the larger the number of residences that contribute to the facility, the larger the fee.
The 1992 Legislature unanimously passed a bill requiring the state program (Chapter 70.97J RCW Municipal Sewage Sludge - Biosolids). The 1997 Legislature unanimously passed a bill allowing the permit fee program (WAC 173-308-320 Permit Fees).
The biosolids fee program was intended to support a core-level program at Ecology. A core-level program allows Ecology staff to implement basic elements of the program such as monitoring and evaluating operations, conducting inspections, and providing technical assistance.
The program and service are valuable to the public and regulated community because:
Permit revenue will be used to fund staff to increase technical assistance, enforcement, and compliance inspections of permit applicants. This will help Ecology keep pace with increased customer demands and population growth, and protect public health and the environment by properly managing biosolids. As in the past, we will work with the regulated community on possible fee increases. They have been largely supportive of fee increases in the past.
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