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Water Quality Program

What is a Permit Fact Sheet

Fact sheets accompany draft permits to record how the permit writer derived requirements. Federal and state laws require fact sheets to describe the proposed discharge, Ecology’s decisions on limiting pollutants, and the regulatory and technical basis for decisions.

Fact sheets also document the history of the permit through reissuances and amendments, summarize the administrative record of permit issuance, and serve as an informational document for the public.

How to Read a Fact Sheet

Fact sheets help reviewers evaluate the terms and conditions of the permit. The following segments describe the major fact sheet sections for individual permits. General permits vary in how they are organized but will contain similar information.

Background Information

This section of the fact sheet contains applicant and facility information including location on a map. It contains detailed information on operations, treatment, and the nature of discharges. The permit writer also provides a description of the receiving water and wastewater characterization data here along with a summary of compliance with the previous permit (if applicable).

Proposed Permit Limits

This section describes the scientific and legal basis the permit writer used to derive the limits and conditions in the permit. Effluent limits are specific restrictions on the mass and concentration of certain pollutants discharged. Regulations require effluent limits to be either technology-based or water quality-based, whichever is more stringent.

Washington State requires use of all known available and reasonable technology (AKART) for all discharges. These technology-based limits are performance standards. For example: a limit for a kraft (unbleached) pulp mill is 2.8 lbs. of biochemical oxygen demand per 1000 lbs. of pulp production.

Water quality-based limits are based on compliance with water quality standards. For example: if the technology-based limit (in the previous example) is not strict enough to protect the water quality standard of > 6.0 mg/L dissolved oxygen, a lower limit would be required (e.g., 1.5 lbs. per 1000 lbs. of production).

This section also includes a comparison of effluent limits in the proposed permit and the current permit (if applicable).

Monitoring Requirements

Effluent monitoring and reporting are required to verify treatment or control processes are functioning correctly and the discharge is meeting limits. This section describes the basis for monitoring requirements which take into account quantity, variability, treatment methods, pollutant significance, cost, and compliance history.

Other Permit Conditions

This section describes any specific activities required of the discharger. Pollution prevention plans, spill control plans, operations and maintenance, and other operating conditions are addressed in this section.


Fact sheet appendices provide further information:

  • Appendix A - public involvement information, and how the permit development process was advertised.
  • Appendix B - describes the permit appeal process.
  • Appendix C - glossary of terms to help interpret complex permit language.
  • Appendix D - detail on the technical calculations supporting permit conditions.
  • Appendix E - response to any comments received during the public comment period.


Contact Regional Permit Coordinators for questions on specific permits.


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Last updated September 2014