The Washington State Department of Ecology has issued initial guidelines for a water quality permit that would apply to wineries which would be a first for the industry.


Stacey Callaway, a general permit writer in DOE’s Water Quality Program, said their goal is to protect water quality and provide flexibility in compliance for wineries.


“Some of the examples of the requirements include screening waste water to remove solids, tracking the volume of wastewater discharged, not discharging directly to surface waters like rivers or the Puget Sound and developing a winery pollution prevention plan to document compliance efforts.”


The permit was developed by Ecology with the input from the industry according to Callaway.


Ecology’s concerned because wine wastewater can pollute ground water, kill aquatic species and Callaway said it can overwhelm wastewater treatment plants.

“Because wine production in Washington has increased greatly over the past decade, we decided to develop a general permit that establishes good waste management practices. We recognize that a lot of wineries in Washington already have exceptional waste management practices, but we really wanted to get the word out to all of the wineries.”


The deadline for public comments is February 14th.


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