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Regulatory Handbook -> Air Quality Permits -> Burn Permit - Agricultural Bale

Burn Permit - Agricultural Bale

What is the Purpose of this Permit?
The purpose of this permit is to allow commercial agricultural operations to burn baled agricultural residue in a way that protects human health and the environment.
Who Issues this Permit?
Variable: See notes/comments for more information.
What Activities Require this Permit?
Only commercial agricultural operations can apply for this permit to burn baled agricultural residue. The agricultural burning regulation (Chapter 173-430 WAC) defines a commercial agricultural operation as a farmer who is practicing agriculture for commercial purposes and has filed an IRS schedule F form or its corporate equivalent

All commercial agricultural operations must get a permit before burning natural vegetation. Baled residue permits are used to burn bales that are:
  • Broken
  • Mildewed
  • Diseased
  • Pest-ridden

Bales must be from ten acres or less, or a maximum equivalent of two tons per acre.

No permit is required to burn:
  • Fence rows
  • Ditch banks
  • Irrigation canals
  • Annual orchard prunings
  • Windblown tumbleweeds

Even if you don’t need a permit, you must still notify local fire authorities before you burn and follow all local fire safety regulations.

This permit is not to be used for open-field burning or spot burning (other than baled residue, of ten acres or less)

You may not burn during an air pollution episode or any stage of impaired air quality (burn ban).

When you receive your burn permit, you must do the following BEFORE you burn:
How Much Will this Permit Cost?
The fee is $37.50 for any burning under ten acres (or its baled maximum equivalent of two tons per acre.)
Where Can I Get the Application for this Permit?
The application which is called 'Agricultural Burning Permit: Application for Baled Agricultural Residue Burning' is online and can be accessed at https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/publications/ecy07075.pdf.
Do I Need to Include Anything with my Application?
See the permit application instructions for details.
Is the Decision on my Permit Dependent on Anything Besides the Information in my Application?
When making the decision on your permit, the permitting authority will consider the applicable laws and rules, the contents of your application, and the background environmental conditions.

Burning baled residue will only be allowed as a last resort. Growers must consider and attempt to use any and all alternatives to burning.
How Long Will it Take to Review my Application?
The permitting authority must act on a complete application (as determined by the permitting authority) within seven days of receipt. See WAC 173-430-040(5)(c).
Where do I Submit my Application?
If the Department of Ecology or a county conservation district issues your permit, submit the application and fee to the address on the application.

If a local clean air agency issues the permit, follow the instructions on their application.
How Long is my Permit Valid?
The Baled Burn Permit, if issued, is valid for either Spring Season (January 1- June 30) or Fall Season (July 1- December 31).
What is the Appeal Process for the Permit?
You have a right to appeal the permit to the Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) within 30 days of the date of receipt of the permit. The appeal process is governed by Chapter 43.21B RCW and Chapter 371-08 WAC. “Date of receipt” is defined in RCW 43.21B.001(2).

If the Department of Ecology issued the permit, please contact the issuing office to discuss the decision on your permit.

If a county conservation district or local clean air agency issued the permit, contact that office directly (see notes/comments).
Notes / Comments:
The agency that issues these permits varies by location.

The Department of Ecology issues the permits in the following counties:
  • Ecology Central Regional Office - Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas, Klickitat, Okanogan Counties
  • Ecology Eastern Regional Office - Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman Counties
  • Ecology Northwest Regional Office - San Juan County

For all other counties the agency that issues these permits varies, it would be one of the following:
  • The local clean air agency
  • County conservation districts
  • Tribes protect air quality in Indian country, with technical assistance from EPA.

If you need help, the state-wide contact listed below is a good resource.
Permit Timeliness Results

Permit Timeliness data collection is in response to a State Auditor’s Performance Audit and RCW 43.42A. Each regulatory agency developed a plan to improve permit clarity, predictability, and timeliness. Each agency considers the customers experience to ensure permit assistance is simple to use, easy to access, and designed in a customer-friendly manner. Agencies report progress to the Governor’s Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance (ORIA). ORIA prepares and distributes reports, with participation from the State Auditor’s Office and Results Washington. See latest report here: https://www.oria.wa.gov/ORIA-2018-PermitTimelinessProgressReport.pdf.

All permits submitted for reporting were entered into this Regulatory Handbook. Here are the results of the performance data:

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Process a Permit Application (Definition)
Average number of days from Receipt to Complete: 1.5
Maximum number of days from Receipt to Complete: 17

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Issue a Permit Decision (Definition)
Average number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 1
Maximum number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 1

(Summary results based on 12 submittals in 2020)

Where can I get permitting assistance?
Helpdesk phone: Contacts vary by location, visit Ecology’s Agricultural Burning & Permitting web page for contact information by county.
Statewide Contact:
Department of Ecology
Air Quality Program
Headquarters
300 Desmond Drive
PO Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600
Telephone: (360) 407-6800
Fax: (360) 407-7534
Website: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/air/airhome.html
* Permit information last updated 7/20/2018
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