General Permit Coverage - NPDES

What is the purpose of this permit?
NPDES General Permits ensure that entities that discharge pollutants into the state’s surface water cause no harm to water quality or to the greater environment. The discharge of pollutants into the state's surface waters is regulated through National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits; Ecology issues these general permits under authority delegated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). General permits are written to cover a category of dischargers instead of an individual facility. General permits may place limits on the quantity and concentration of pollutants allowed to be discharged and typically require operational conditions called Best Management Practices. To ensure compliance with these limits and conditions, general permits may require monitoring and reporting. For more information on NPDES general permits, visit
Who issues this permit?
Department of Ecology
What activities require this permit?
Ecology issues general permits for point source discharges of pollutants into surface waters that belong to a category of discharger for which Ecology has developed a general NPDES permit.
How much will this permit cost?
Fees are variable and are set by regulation (Chapter 173-224 WAC). To find the fees for each type of general permit, visit the respective ORIA pages, the fee schedule, or contact the Ecology office.
Where can I get the application for this permit?
The application is online and can be accessed at
Do I need to include anything with my application?
Application requirements vary based on the applicable general permit.
Is the decision on my permit dependent on anything besides the information in my application?
When making the decision on general permits, Ecology considers the applicable laws and rules, the contents of an application, and the background environmental conditions.

Additional specific application requirements vary based
on the applicable general permit.
How long will it take to review my application?
The timeline for permit application review is dependent on the requirements of the applicable general permit.
Where do I submit my application?
For more information on submittal requirements, visit the general permit web page.
How long is my permit valid?
In most cases general permits have a five year life span. The coverage period for a general permit starts on the issuance date of coverage and lasts until the permit expires. Facilities must reapply for permit coverage prior to the expiration date of the general permit and as required by the specific general permit.
What is the appeal process for the permit?
You have a right to appeal general permits and permit coverages to the Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) within 30 days of issuance of the general permit or the general permit coverage given to a particular permittee. The appeal process is governed by Chapter 43.21B RCW and Chapter 173-226 WAC. “Date of receipt” is defined in RCW 43.21B.001(2). To appeal you must do both of the following within 30 days after the date of receipt of issuance of this general permit:
  • File your appeal and a copy of the permit cover page with the Pollution Control Hearings Board (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. E-mail is not accepted.
Consideration of an appeal of general permit coverage of an individual discharger is limited to the general permit’s applicability or inapplicability to that individual discharger. When general permit coverage is issued appeal information will be included.
Notes / Comments:
If this permit does not seem to fit your project you may need an NPDES Individual Permit, see links for additional information.
Legal Authority:
Department of Ecology
Water Quality Program
300 Desmond Drive
PO Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600
Fax: (360) 407-6426
Telephone: (360) 407-6600
Triggering Questions:
  • Is your project one of the following: Fresh fruit packing Water Treatment Plant Dairy or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Fish hatchery Use of Aquatic Pesticides Boat yard Gravel operation
* Permit information last updated 8/21/2023