Washington Thermal Discharges regulations & environmental compliance analysis

Washington Thermal Discharges: What you need to know

Governing Law and Regulations

Designated uses and criteria: Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 173-201A-200 to WAC 173-201A-260

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Definitions: WAC 173-201A-020

Fresh water designated uses: WAC 173-201A-200

Marine water designated uses: WAC 173-201A-210

Solid waste handling facilities: WAC 173-304-490

State waste discharge permits: WAC 173-216-060

General permits: WAC 173-226-100

Aquaculture facilities: WAC 173-221A-100

Regulatory Agency

Washington Department of Ecology (WDOE) Water Quality Program

See ADDRESSES & CONTACTS for addresses and telephone numbers.

See national section for basic information and federal regulations.

Comparison: State vs. Federal

Rules. Washington follows the federal Clean Water Act and prohibits thermal discharges above designated levels. The state classifies fresh waters by actual use and marine waters by four general categories. Washington also designates the temperature criteria for listed water bodies in the state. For additional guidance, see the national section THERMAL DISCHARGES.

Administration and enforcement. WDOE's Water Quality Program and the WDOE regional offices are responsible for the administration and enforcement of the state's thermal discharge regulations.

State Requirements


WAC 173-201A-020

Pollution. WDOE defines "pollution" as contamination or other alteration of the physical, chemical, or biological properties of any waters of the state, including change in temperature, taste, color, turbidity, or odor of the waters, or such discharge of any liquid, gaseous, solid, radioactive, or other substance into any waters of the state as will or is likely to create a nuisance or render such waters harmful, detrimental, or injurious to the public health, ...

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