May 22, 2018

Washington State Introduces Wastewater Discharge Permits for Wineries

Roughly 100 wineries will be subjected to the permit process

Washington state wineries will now be required to have a permit in order to discharge wastewater.

The state of Washington’s Department of Ecology (WDE) has announced that approximately 100 wineries throughout the state will need a permit in order to discharge wastewater beginning in mid-2019.

The regulations implemented by the new permits will provide specific limits on irrigation involving water that was utilized to clean bottles, barrels, tanks and other winery items. The permits will also require the presence of cleansers in the recycled water, which will aid in preventing groundwater contamination. Beyond this, the new permits will also regulate storage ponds and watering down dusty roads.

No specific instance provoked the creation of this new permit, as no documented case of groundwater pollution by a winery has been recorded by WDE, and it is still undetermined what the permits will cost.

The permit will be required of wineries that produce at least 53,505 gal of wastewater annually, and will share wastewater limits and regulations with other industries, such as fruit packing and vegetable processing. Wineries that produce less than 17,835 gal of wastewater per year will likely be exempt from the new permit.

The new set of regulations will not go into effect until July 1, 2019, in order to allow the wineries sufficient time to render their operations adherent to the new conditions required by the permit. Penalties against the new regulations could result in fines up to $10,000 for a noncompliant winery.