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Regulatory Handbook -> Water Quality Permits -> Sand & Gravel General Permit for Portable Facilities (NPDES)

Sand & Gravel General Permit for Portable Facilities (NPDES)

What is the Purpose of this Permit?
To ensure that portable concrete batch plants, asphalt batch plants, and rock crusher operations prevent pollution within their process water, stormwater and mine dewatering water discharges to groundwater or surface water. A portable facility can operate anywhere within Washington State as long as it is in compliance with permit conditions.

This permit is required under federal and state water quality law (Federal Clean Water Act and (State Water Pollution Control Act).
Who Issues this Permit?
Department of Ecology
What Activities Require this Permit?
Portable rock crushing operations, concrete batch plants, and asphalt batch plants that have a discharge of process wastewater, stormwater, or mine dewatering water. The Department of Ecology (Ecology) requires a permit whenever a portable facility:
  • Operates at a location that does not have permit coverage for the activity the portable will be performing.
  • Operates at a location that does not have active operating status.
  • Produces crushed rock or washed gravel for forest management if a discernable, confined, and discrete conveyance discharges pollutants to surface waters of the state.
How Much Will this Permit Cost?
Permit fees are set by rule and are found in Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 173-224 (see Sand & Gravel—General Permit Coverage, d. Portable Operations). The typical annual fee is around $2,500. Fee amounts change each year so please consult the WAC or contact the Fee Unit at (800) 633-6193 (option 2) or wqfee_unit@ecy.wa.gov for current fees.

The fee rule also includes a provision for fee reduction based on economic hardship. Rules for fee reduction and the amount of the reduction may change over time. We encourage you to consult the fee rule referenced above or contact the Fee Unit to determine if your operation is eligible for an economic hardship fee reduction.
Where Can I Get the Application for this Permit?
The application which is called 'Notice of Intent (NOI)' is online and can be accessed at https://ecology.wa.gov/Regulations-Permits/Permits-certifications/Sand-Gravel-General-Permit.
Do I Need to Include Anything with my Application?
For each site portable operations must submit a form notifying Ecology when beginning work at a new location. This is called the “Portable Beginning of Operation Notice” and can be accessed at https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/summarypages/ecy07036.html.

Note that a new facility wanting coverage under this permit must conduct a public notice announcement in the newspaper. The applicant must publish public notice once each week for two consecutive weeks (twice), at least seven days apart, in a newspaper of general circulation within the county in which the discharge is proposed. Coverage may be issued 30 days after the second public notice.
Is the Decision on my Permit Dependent on Anything Besides the Information in my Application?
Permit coverage cannot be issued to a new facility unless applicable State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) requirements have been satisfied. SEPA review, city permits, and county permits must include the activity that the portable facility will be performing. All air quality requirements must also be met.

A complete application must also include certification that the public notice requirements have been met. If comments are received during the public comment period, Ecology must review and respond to the comments and take them into consideration when making the decision to issue or deny permit coverage.
How Long Will it Take to Review my Application?
WAC 173-226-200 and RCW 90.48.170: Application for permits shall be made at least 60 days prior to commencement of any proposed discharge or permit expiration date, whichever is applicable.

See the Permit Timeliness Results above for average processing times.
Where do I Submit my Application?
To the Department of Ecology, requires an electronic application using Ecology's eNOI system: https://ecology.wa.gov/Regulations-Permits/Permits-certifications/Sand-Gravel-General-Permit.
Schematic:
View the schematic
How Long is my Permit Valid?
Ecology reissues all sand and gravel permits every 5 years. All facilities with permit coverage must reapply for coverage 180 days before the expiration date. The current permit expires on March 31, 2021.
What is the Appeal Process for the Permit?
You have a right to appeal this permit coverage to the Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) within 30 days of issuance of this general permit. The appeal process is governed by Chapter 43.21B RCW, Chapter 173-226 WAC, and Chapter 371-08 WAC. “Date of receipt” is defined in RCW 43.21B.001(2).

To appeal you must do both of the following within 30 days after the date of receipt of issuance of this general permit:
  • File your appeal and a copy of the permit cover page with the Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) during regular business hours.
  • Serve a copy of your appeal and the permit cover page on Ecology in paper form, by mail or in person. E-mail is not accepted.

Consideration of an appeal of general permit coverage of an individual discharger is limited to the general permit’s applicability or inapplicability to that individual discharger.
Notes / Comments:
Ecology does not require sand and gravel permit coverage for a portable facility when:
  • The site has permit coverage for the activity the portable facility will be performing, AND
  • The site has active operating status. A site has active operating status when the site permittee has notified Ecology that the site is active.
    For example, a landowner may include asphalt batching as part of the Sand and Gravel Site Permit even though the owner does not maintain an asphalt batch plant at the site. Ecology will allow a portable asphalt plant, without sand and gravel portable permit coverage to operate at this site.

However, the site permittee should make sure that the portable facility permittee has submitted its Notice of Intent to Begin Operations at least 10 days before the portable begins operating at the site and conducted public notice if discharging to surface waters. In addition, the site's SEPA review and county/city permit must have included the activity that the portable will be performing and the portable facility must satisfy air quality requirements.

Ecology does not require sand and gravel permit coverage for a portable facility at sites covered under Ecology’s Construction Stormwater General Permit as long as:
  • The portable operation will not have a process water or mine dewatering water discharge.
  • The portable operation will not produce materials for uses unrelated to the permitted construction activity.
  • The portable operation is located within the permitted construction project area. (The portable operation cannot be located off site.)
  • The Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) for the construction site takes into account the presence of the portable operation.

You are required to use the electronic application (eNOI) and submit it to Ecology over the internet. If you do not have internet access, please contact the Ecology office and they will assist you.

Portable operations must submit a form notifying Ecology that when work is completed at a specific location. This is called the “Portable Completion of Operation Notice” and can be accessed at https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/summarypages/ecy07030.html.
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: 132.3
Maximum number of days from Receipt to Complete: 540

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Issue a Permit Decision (Definition)
Average number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 17.9
Maximum number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 113

(Summary results based on 13 submittals in 2020)

Statewide Contact:
Department of Ecology
Headquarters
300 Desmond Drive
PO Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600
Telephone: (360) 407-6000
Website: http://www.ecology.wa.gov/
* Permit information last updated 4/29/2019
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