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Rule Making

Chapter 173-224 WAC
Wastewater/Stormwater Permit Fee Rulemaking



Ecology amended Chapter 173-224 WAC – Wastewater Discharge Permit Fees. This amendment allows permit fees to be increased for most permit fee types to support Ecology’s costs of administering the permit program this biennium. Additionally, Ecology has recently issued or will be issuing new permits which needed fee categories to be developed.

Scope of rule development

State law (RCW 80.48.465 – Water Pollution Control) requires Ecology to fund its wastewater and stormwater permit programs through annual fees paid by permit holders.

The proposed changes sought to continue moving the program toward payment equity between permit categories. Ecology adopted a larger percentage fee increase for underpaying categories and a smaller percentage fee increase for overpaying categories, while the overall revenue increase to the permit program stays within the state fiscal growth factor limits of 4.22% for state fiscal year 2016 and 4.19% for state fiscal year 2017.

Ecology’s goals in establishing the percentage splits within the overall fiscal growth factor increase are to honor the need for fund equity while not over-burdening the under-paying categories with an increase that is not sustainable.

The adopted fee increases are the following:

  1. Increase fees for the overpaying fee categories by:
    3.25% for fiscal year 2016
    3.21% for fiscal year 2017
  2. Increase fees for the underpaying fee categories by:
    5.31% for fiscal year 2016
    5.27% for fiscal year 2017
  3. King County Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants:
    4.22% by fiscal year 2016
    4.19% for fiscal year 2017
  4. Ecology has recently issued or will be issuing new permits which needed fee categories to be developed. The categories are:
    • Bridge Washing
    • In-water Vessel Deconstruction
    • Wineries

There is an existing fee category for wineries that was developed for a small number of individual facilities. The new winery general permit is under development and could ultimately include many additional permit holders. Ecology is developing a new category structure that will better reflect what it will take to manage this permit with a large number of permit holders.



Charles Gilman


Wastewater/Stormwater Discharge Permit Fee Program