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Regulatory Handbook -> Water Quality Permits -> Reclaimed Water Permit

Reclaimed Water Permit

What is the Purpose of this Permit?
A Reclaimed Water permit is issued to an owner of a facility generating reclaimed water to regulate the quality, distribution, and use of the reclaimed water. The permit protects human health and the environment by establishing conditions on the production, distribution, and approved uses of the reclaimed water. It includes requirements for “adequate and reliable” treatment of the water and it specifies the rates, locations, and intended uses of the water.

Reclaimed water is a water supply produced by the treatment of municipal or domestic wastewater. The treatment processes are designed to assure that the water is safe and suitable for the intended allowable use. Sometimes called water recycling or water reuse, the process of reclaiming water involves an engineered treatment system that speeds up nature’s restoration of water quality. Uses of reclaimed water can include landscape or agricultural irrigation, recreational impoundments, commerce and industry, ground water recharge, streamflow augmentation, wetlands creation or enhancement and aesthetic features such as fountains and parks.
Who Issues this Permit?
Variable: See notes/comments for more information.
What Activities Require this Permit?
Reclaimed Water Permits regulate the production, distribution, and use of reclaimed water generated according to provisions of the State Reclaimed Water Use Act. Proposed generators of reclaimed water must obtain a Permit prior to the distribution and use of the water.
How Much Will this Permit Cost?
Ecology fees vary depending on the size and type of project. Generally, the permit fee is generated by multiplying a small annual fee by the number of residential equivalents to whom the facility provides services. (Chapter 173-224-040(3) WAC)
Where Can I Get the Application for this Permit?
The application which is called 'Permit Application for Reclaimed Water Use' is online and can be accessed at https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/summarypages/ecy070180.html.
Do I Need to Include Anything with my Application?
You will need a narrative description and a map of the entire project. You may also have to provide any applicable engineering documents, the public water system's cross connection control plan, water right impairment information, and user agreements or contracts. The Department of Ecology or the Department of Health may require additional information. Ecology typically issues a single combined permit containing both water rights provisions and Department of Health requirements.

Most facilities producing reclaimed water may also need a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit or State Waste Discharge (SWD) Permit to authorize the discharge of wastewater effluent that is not treated for Reclaimed Water purposes. On a case-by-case basis, Ecology may combine conditions for reclaimed water production and distribution into a NPDES or SWD permit for the treatment facility’s effluent discharges. Even though a facility may receive a single permit covering reclaimed water production and treated wastewater disposal, they will need to submit separate permit applications for the Reclaimed Water Permit and the NPDES or SWD permit. Please refer to the sections on NPDES Individual Permits and State Waste Discharge Permits in the handbook for more information on these permits.
Is the Decision on my Permit Dependent on Anything Besides the Information in my Application?
Ecology considers the applicable laws and rules, the contents of your application, and the relevant background information from facility engineering documents and environmental studies when making permit decisions.

In addition, the permitting process includes public review. This means that the public may submit comments on the proposed permit to Ecology during the 30 day public comment period to support or oppose your proposed activity. Ecology must consider all comments received during the comment period before making a final decision to issue or deny the permit. The fact sheet for the final permit will contain a summary of all comments received, if any, Ecology’s response to the comments, and a summary of the changes made to the permit as a result of the comments.
How Long Will it Take to Review my Application?
Each project is unique and permitting reclaimed water facilities is a complex process that involves multiple Ecology programs as well as multiple state agencies. To aid in minimizing the processing time, Ecology recommends that potential permittees begin working with staff in the regional office for the area in which the facility will be located during the initial project planning phase.
Where do I Submit my Application?
The application is submitted to the appropriate Ecology Regional Office. You can find the appropriate regional office at https://ecology.wa.gov/Water-Shorelines/Water-quality/Reclaimed-water or call the statewide contact noted below.
How Long is my Permit Valid?
Permit terms are typically five years, which is the maximum duration.
What is the Appeal Process for the Permit?
You have a right to appeal a new or reissued permit to the Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) within 30 days of the date of receipt of the permit issuance notice. 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 your permit issuance notice:
  • 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.
      
            Physical Addresses
            Department of Ecology
            Attn: Appeals Processing Desk
            300 Desmond Drive SE
            Lacey, WA 98503

            Pollution Control Hearings Board
            1111 Israel Road SW, Suite 301
            Tumwater, WA 98501

            Mailing Addresses
            Department of Ecology
            Attn: Appeals Processing Desk
            P.O. Box 47608
            Olympia, WA 98504-7608

            Pollution Control Hearings Board
            P.O. Box 40903
            Olympia, WA 98504-0903
Notes / Comments:
Department of Ecology’s Water Quality Program is the lead agency for most reclaimed water permits. Ecology’s Water Quality Program coordinates with the Water Resources Program and the Department of Health in issuing the permits. Department of Health may issue permits that are not under Ecology jurisdiction (for example, the distribution and use of greywater).

Ecology is developing a Reclaimed Water rule as directed by the state legislature. Once adopted, this rule will replace the 1997 Water Reclamation and Reuse Standards and may contain new standards or requirements for reclaimed water production, distribution and use. For the most current information, visit: https://ecology.wa.gov/About-us/Get-to-know-us/Contact-us/Regional-contacts
Statewide Contact:
Department of Ecology
Water Quality Program
Headquarters
300 Desmond Drive
PO Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600
Fax: (360) 407-6426
Telephone: (360) 407-6600
Website: https://ecology.wa.gov/About-us/Get-to-know-us/Our-Programs/Water-Quality
* Permit information last updated 3/19/2018
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