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Recommendation: 39

Status: Complete

Develop a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit framework for advanced wastewater treatment in Puget Sound to reduce nutrients in wastewater discharges to Puget Sound by 2022.


Action 1

Develop a Puget Sound Nutrient General Permit to control wastewater discharge from sewage treatment plants.

Implementation Details

Wastewater treatment plants discharge more than 50 percent of the human sources of nutrients into Puget Sound and contribute significantly to low levels of dissolved oxygen. The Washington Department of Ecology proposes developing a Puget Sound Nutrients General Permit to control nutrient discharges from domestic wastewater treatment plans (sewage treatment plants) through its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System regulatory authority. The alternative to a general permit is to include nutrient control requirements in each treatment plant’s individual permits as they are reissued during the next 10 years.

Recent Progress

The Department of Ecology was given $535,000 to develop a Puget Sound Nutrient General Permit for wastewater treatment plants to reduce nutrient pollution. In January 2020, the department announced that it would draft a permit for Puget Sound. The proposed permit would apply to nearly 70 sewage treatment plants discharging into Puget Sound. Public comments were received in August 2021, and Ecology is proceeding.

More details may be found in the progress reports in the resources library.