Biosolids Management (General Permit)

What is the purpose of this permit?
This permit implements the biosolids program, which regulates the following types of material:
  • Biosolids (including septage) applied to the land
  • Biosolids sold or given away in a bag or other container
  • Biosolids being stored
  • Biosolids transferred from one facility to another
  • Sewage sludge disposed in a municipal solid waste landfill.

This general permit establishes the conditions that must be met for the above activities in the State of Washington, according to the provisions of Chapter 173-308 WAC, Biosolids Management.

Facility types required to apply for coverage under this permit include the following:
  • Publicly owned treatment works
  • Privately owned treatment works treating only domestic wastewater
  • Industrial facilities that treat domestic wastewater separately from the industrial waste stream and generate biosolids regulated by Chapter 173-308 WAC
  • Beneficial use facilities
  • Composting facilities that compost non-exceptional quality biosolids and that do not have an adequate permit issued by the local health jurisdiction where the non-exceptional quality biosolids are composted
  • Septage management facilities
  • Other facilities designated by the Department of Ecology as a treatment works treating domestic sewage as described in the permit.
Who issues this permit?
Department of Ecology
What activities require this permit?
This permit covers land application of biosolids and other related processes and aspects of operations related to biosolids treatment, use, and disposal.
How much will this permit cost?
Fees vary depending upon size and type of facility. There is a minimum fee of $880 per facility per year. In addition, there is a one-time $2,641 review fee for new facilities.
Where can I get the application for this permit?
The application is called 'Application for Coverage Under the General Permit for Biosolids Management' is online and can be accessed at
Do I need to include anything with my application?
A complete application package includes:
  • Application for Coverage signed by the appropriate official.
  • Vicinity map of the facility and any associated treatment or storage facilities.
  • Treatment facility schematic (basic, showing flows and processes).
  • Confirmation that the SEPA and public notice requirements have been met.

The following components may also be required:
  • Land application plans
  • Monitoring data
  • Biosolids sampling plan
  • Contingency plan for exceptional quality biosolids
  • Temporary disposal plan
  • Spill prevention/response plan.

What Can I do if I Don’t Hear Back from Ecology on my Application?
State rules allow facilities to operate under provisional approval. This means you may operate in accordance with your submitted conditions until Ecology takes action to establish Final Coverage. You do not have to wait for Ecology action on your application. Regardless of your proposed operations, you must comply with applicable requirements of the state rule and general permit.
Is the decision on my permit dependent on anything besides the information in my application?
  • Submittal of a complete application package.
  • Completion of public notice.
  • Fulfillment of any SEPA obligations.
How long will it take to review my application?
The timeframe for issuing final coverage under the permit varies widely. Applicants should consult the applicable regional biosolids coordinator for specifics.
Where do I submit my application?
Applications are submitted to Ecology Regional Coordinators who are responsible for review of the documents. Applicants should consult the applicable Regional Biosolids Coordinator for specifics. For more information please go to the Biosolids Program Contacts webpage.
How long is my permit valid?
The General Permit is a 5-year permit. Individual facilities will be covered until the General Permit expires.
What is the appeal process for the permit?
You have a right to appeal this permit coverage to the Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) within 30 days of the date of receipt. The appeal process is governed by Chapter 43.21B RCW , Chapter 371-08 WAC, and Chapter 34.05 RCW. “Date of receipt” is defined in RCW 43.21B.001(2).

Read the Pollution Control Board’s Appeal Process web page for more details.
Legal Authority:
Permit Timeliness Results

Permit Timeliness data collection is in response to a State Auditor’s Performance Audit and RCW 43.42A. Each regulatory agency developed a plan to improve permit clarity, predictability, and timeliness. Each agency considers the customers experience to ensure permit assistance is simple to use, easy to access, and designed in a customer-friendly manner. Agencies report progress to the Governor’s Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance (ORIA). ORIA prepares and distributes reports, with participation from the State Auditor’s Office and Results Washington. See latest report here:

All permits submitted for reporting were entered into this Regulatory Handbook. Here are the results of the performance data:

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Process a Permit Application (Definition)
Average number of days from Receipt to Complete: 262.6
Maximum number of days from Receipt to Complete: 467

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Issue a Permit Decision (Definition)
Average number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 48.3
Maximum number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 134

(Summary results based on 8 submittals in 2023)

Where can I get permitting assistance?
Web page URL:
Subject matter expert phone: 360-789-6592
Subject matter expert email:
Statewide Contact:
Department of Ecology
300 Desmond Drive
PO Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600
Telephone: (360) 407-6000
Triggering Questions:
  • Do you produce or manage biosolids, sewage sludge, or septage?
* Permit information last updated 8/14/2023