Washington Wastewater Variances regulations & environmental compliance analysis

Washington Wastewater Variances: What you need to know

Governing Law and Regulations

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits: Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 173-220-010 to 173-220-240

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State waste discharge permits: WAC 173-216-010 to 173-216-150

Water quality standards: WAC 173-201A-420

Shoreline management and wetlands: WAC 173-27-010 to 173-27-990

Variance criteria: WAC 173-27-140 and WAC 173-27-170

Permit applications: WAC 173-27-180

Regulatory Agencies

Washington Department of Ecology (WDOE) Water Quality Program

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 10

See ADDRESSES & CONTACTS for addresses and telephone numbers.

See national section for basic information and federal regulations.

Comparison: State vs. Federal

Rules. Washington generally follows EPA's federal requirements for issuing wastewater variances to NPDES permit holders (WAC 173-220-010 to 173-220-240). For more information about the federal requirements for variances, see the national section WASTEWATER VARIANCES.

Note: The state's wastewater discharge permit rules predate the federal NPDES program. As a result, some facilities must obtain both NPDES permits and state waste discharge permits (WAC 173-216-010 to 173-216-150). A state waste discharge permit is required for discharges to groundwater and to publicly-owned treatment works (POTW). See the state section NPDES PERMIT for additional guidance.

The state allows variances to water quality standards to surface waters if certain criteria are met. Washington has also implemented a program for shoreline management, which includes provisions for substantial development, conditional use, or variance permits.

Administration and enforcement. WDOE's Water Quality Program and the WDOE regional offices are ...


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