Aug 13, 2019

Washington State Starts Wastewater Discharge Permitting for Wineries

State permitting requires wastewater monitoring & wastewater management practices

State permitting requires wastewater monitoring & wastewater management practices

The wine industry in Washington state must comply with new wastewater monitoring, discharge and management requirements. 

The Department of Ecology in Washington implemented a new general permit starting July 2019. According to the Seattle Times, it includes the monitoring of wastewater discharge from winemaking operations. Wine operations in the state produce 7,500 cases of wine—17,835 gal of wine—per year. The permit will persist through July 1, 2024, according to the Seattle Times.

Wineries covered under this permitting structure must comply with requirements that include monitoring discharged wastewater and implementing best practices for managing wastewater, according to the Seattle Times

Other states have implemented permitting programs to monitor wastewater generated during the winemaking process as well. Juergen Grieb, a German winemaker in Washington, said Germany and most of Europe are subject to strict wastewater regulations. He thought Washington state would soon follow in implementing stricter regulations at some point.

“We’re the second-largest [wine] producer in the country,” Grieb told the Seattle Times. “This was eventually going to happen.”

Some wine industry professionals have expressed objections to the new permitting requirements. According to the Seattle Times, some question why wineries would need to bear the cost of following regulations when the industry has not been a significant source of pollution

“There’s just not a lot of pollutants in a winery’s waste stream that are very dangerous,” said Paul Beveridge, owner of Wilridge Winery and president of Family Wineries of Washington, according to the Seattle Times.

Department of Ecology officials said state law requires them to issue permits to any commercial or industrial operation that discharges waste into the environment. The department previously monitored winery wastewater practices through individual permits.