Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance Logo
Information Center (800) 917-0043 or help@oria.wa.gov

Regulatory Handbook -> Water Quality Permits -> Aquatic Plant and Algae Management Permit - NPDES

Aquatic Plant and Algae Management Permit - NPDES

What is the Purpose of this Permit?
This permit ensures that application of aquatic herbicides is protective of water quality. It allows aquatic pesticide applicators, local government and others to legally spray to control noxious weeds, native nuisance plants and algae.
Who Issues this Permit?
Department of Ecology
What Activities Require this Permit?
Businesses that apply herbicides, algaecides, dyes, biological water clarifiers, adjuvants, and nutrient inactivation products into and around fresh water for the following purposes must have coverage under this permit:
  • Controlling or eradicating state listed noxious or quarantine weeds.
  • Controlling native nuisance plants and algae.
  • Nutrient inactivation (e.g. phosphorus).
This permit covers in-water application (lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, etc) of pesticides in addition to incidental discharge of pesticides to water resulting from treatment of emergent plants, wetlands, roadsides, and ditchbanks.

To find out the specific activities that trigger this permit, go to the Aquatic Plant and Algae Management Permit website and click on "Fact Sheet"
How Much Will this Permit Cost?
There is no fee to apply for permit coverage. Once your application is approved, there is an annual fee for coverage under the permit. For FY 2016, the annual permit fee is $522 while the FY 2017 fee is $550. You will be billed for permit fees after permit coverage is issued. Permit fees are set by rule in WAC 173-224-040.
Do I Need to Include Anything with my Application?
The Permittee must submit a signed and dated Fluridone Vegetation Management Plan (Appendix C) to Ecology when applying for or updating a permit coverage that includes fluridone treatment of more than:
  • 50 percent of the littoral zone in lakes up to 50 acres or
  • 40 percent of the littoral zone in lakes from 50 - 500 acres.
If the product label has potable water use restrictions and the treatment occurs in water bodies with municipal or community drinking water intakes, the applicant must obtain and submit written consent to the treatment from the municipality or community.
Is the Decision on my Permit Dependent on Anything Besides the Information in my Application?
When making the decision on your order/permit, Ecology will consider the applicable laws and rules, and the contents of your application.

In addition, the permitting process includes public participation. This means that the public may submit comments to Ecology during the 30 day public comment period to support or oppose your proposed activity. If any comments are received, 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?
See the Permit Timeliness Results above for average processing times.

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. Ecology can issue coverage on the 38th day following receipt of a complete application and the publication of the first public notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the county.
Where do I Submit my Application?
You must apply for the permit online, through Secure Access Washington (SAW), and submit a signed hardcopy of your application to Ecology. See the "Notes" section for more information on applying through SAW.

    Department of Ecology
    Water Quality Program
    Attn: Aquatic Pesticide Permit Manager
    PO Box 47600
    Olympia, WA 98504
How Long is my Permit Valid?
Ecology general permits are issued for a 5 year period. During that 5 year span, your coverage is valid from the day your permit coverage is issued, to the day the general permit expires at the end of the 5 years. Coverage may be cancelled before the end of the 5 year period by submitting a Notice of Termination or for failure to pay your yearly permit fee. Coverage should only be cancelled if the pesticide discharge you are permitted for is no longer going to occur.
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 the date of receipt of your decision. This appeal is limited to the general permit's applicability or non-applicability to an individual discharger (WAC 173-226-190(2)). 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). To appeal, you must do the following within 30 days of the date of receipt of notice of coverage:
  • File your appeal and a copy of the permit cover page with the PCHB (see addresses below). Filing means actual receipt by the 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 (see addresses below). E-mail is not accepted.
You must also comply with other applicable requirements in chapter 43.21B RCW and chapter 371-08 WAC.

    Mailing Addresses:
    Pollution Control Hearings Board
    PO Box 40903
    Olympia, WA 98504-0903

    Department of Ecology
    Attn: Appeals Processing Desk
    PO Box 47608
    Olympia, WA 98504-7608

    Physical Addresses:
    Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB)
    1111 Israel Road SW, Suite 301
    Tumwater, WA 98501

    Department of Ecology
    Attn: Appeals Processing Desk
    300 Desmond Drive SE
    Lacey, WA 98503
Notes / Comments:
You must apply for the permit online, through Secure Access Washington (SAW), and submit a signed hardcopy of your application to Ecology.

The permit application is available online through Secure Access Washington (SAW). Applicants must register for a user account through SAW, and then apply for access to the Secure Service for the pesticide permit they are going to apply for. This initial set up takes longer than filling out a paper application, but reduces time and paperwork in the long run by allowing applicants to submit applications and annual reports as well as updates online. A signed hard copy of each application or annual report is required to be submitted to Ecology to satisfy Environmental Protection Agency reporting requirements. See "Where do I send my completed application" for the submittal address.

Step-by-step instructions for how to apply for aquatic pesticide permit coverage online can be accessed here: https://ecology.wa.gov/Regulations-Permits/Permits-certifications/Aquatic-pesticide-permits/Aquatic-plant-algae-management

SAW may be accessed at https://secureaccess.wa.gov/.
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: 14
Maximum number of days from Receipt to Complete: 56

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Issue a Permit Decision (Definition)
Average number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 36.3
Maximum number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 65

(Summary results based on 4 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 2/6/2018
[v2]
© 2021 Governor's Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance