King County Industrial Waste Newsletter - Spring 2024

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King County Industrial Waste Program Newsletter

Spring 2024

Sampling for nitrogen to help protect our waters

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The Washington State Department of Ecology issued the Puget Sound Nutrient General Permit (PSNGP) in 2021 to 58 publicly owned domestic wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) discharging into Washington Waters of the Salish Sea. The permit requires King County to investigate opportunities to reduce the amount of total inorganic nitrogen (TIN) that enters the wastewater system and to report possible pretreatment opportunities to Ecology.  

In 2023, King County Industrial Waste Program (KCIW) began collecting nitrogen samples in discharges from select KCIW-permitted industrial sources across the King County Wastewater Treatment Division ’s service area. Our goal is to determine how much total TIN the industrial sector contributes to our wastewater treatment plants. We analyzed effluent samples for Nitrite + Nitrite Nitrogen, Ammonia Nitrogen, and Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN) and shared individual results with each sampled facility. KCIW will continue to collect nitrogen samples twice a year at the same facilities in 2024.

Learn about a potential technology for nitrogen removal from wastewater.

Industrial Waste Pretreatment Annual Report - highlights from 2023

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The KCIW Annual Report is now available. Here are some of our program highlights from last year:

  • We issued 190 wastewater discharge approvals.
  • We inspected and sampled all significant industrial users.
  • We issued enforcement actions against violators.
  • We upgraded our Pretreatment Information Management System, which helps us track our work.
  • We initiated a new project with a consultant to update the surcharge allocation for the high strength waste cost recovery program.
  • We formed three new work groups to more effectively streamline, resolve, process, and document programmatic decisions.

Clean Water Awards: Recognizing our partners in protecting public health and environment

Each spring, KCIW recognizes facilities that have done an excellent job maintaining permit compliance and preventing pollution during the previous calendar year. Companies with excellent compliance help protect WTD’s workers and sewer and treatment plants, as well as the environment.

Congratulations to the Commitment to Compliance winners:

  • Boeing Electronics Center
  • Port of Seattle
  • Primus International 

Find out who won Gold, and Silver awards.

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Apply for an EnvirOvation Award!

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Tell us about your innovative, sustainable, and/or cost saving project. The EnvirOvation Award application deadline is Nov. 4. We encourage all permitted facilities to apply for our annual EnvirOvation Award for excellence in pretreatment. Learn about the awards criteria and download an application.

Getting ready to collect data: Update on the Comprehensive Industrial User Survey

In 2024-2025, KCIW will conduct a comprehensive Industrial User Survey. We are now working to hire a local research firm to develop the survey, collect, gather, and review the data. We expect them to be on board in the fall to begin this important work.

The data we gather through the survey will help us:

  • Meet federal pretreatment program requirements.
  • Maintain an accurate list of businesses within our wastewater service area.
  • Better understand which companies may need to be monitored or treat their wastewater before discharging it to the sanitary sewer system.

Why are we doing this survey?

All companies must manage their wastewater properly, but only some need permits or formal authorization to send industrial wastewater to the sanitary sewer. Federal regulations require that KCIW, as a delegated pretreatment program, issue waste discharge permits to all entities considered to be Significant Industrial Users (SIUs).

As mentioned in the Fall 2023 newsletter, the 2024 survey will also collect information about per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS), known as “forever chemicals”. The PFAS data will help King County develop best management practices (BMPs) for businesses to keep PFAS out of wastewater and, in turn, out of our regional waterbodies.

Responses to the survey will support King County’s efforts to protect regional water quality and comply with federal requirements. We will provide more information about this effort in the Fall 2024 newsletter.

Enforcement actions - 2023 violators posting

King County is legally required to report on companies who do not comply with their permit or regulations. KCIW publishes a violators advertisement once a year in the spring for violations and enforcement actions that have occurred since the previous publication date. View the latest enforcement ad, which was also published in The Seattle Times in April.

How to Avoid Penalties

Late submissions are a frequent and preventable reason for violations and fines. Plan ahead and file your applications and reports on time.

Did you know…?

  • Your permit shows your specific deadlines.
  • You can contact a King County Industrial Waste Investigator and ask for an extension to avoid being late.
  • You can send your reports electronically to KCIW by emailing

Wishing a fond farewell to three longtime KCIW staff members

Congratulations to Peggy Rice (left) and Tim Coffey (center) on their recent retirements! We’ll also be saying goodbye to Greg Newborn (right) as he heads off to a well-deserved retirement shortly. These three longtime employees leave behind some big shoes to fill.

If anyone you know is interested in a career at King County Wastewater Treatment Division, please direct them to our Jobs page.

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New wastewater infrastructure projects connect communities to ‘green wave’ of jobs

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In 2022, as WTD was planning a storage tank facility to hold polluted water along the west side of the Duwamish River, the community was asked what they wanted out of this big, new King County infrastructure project. 

“The answer was jobs – specifically clean water jobs,” said Kristine Cramer, a community relations planner at WTD. “We heard that loud and clear in our surveys, and jobs were second only to neighborhood greening efforts. So, we took that as meaningful direction and considered how we could connect our capital projects to support living wage employment in the community.” 


Also: WTD is participating in a job fair hosted by the Duwamish River Community Coalition on May 11, 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at Concord International School. Learn more...

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Is the KCIW website working for you?

The newly designed KCIW website has been live for a while now. How well is it working for you? Are you finding the things you need? Are there ways it could be better? 

Let us know and/or reach out if you can’t find something you are looking for:

Report spills to the sewer – get a copy of our 'whom to call' poster 

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Companies and facilities that discharge industrial wastewater to King County’s sewer system must post emergency phone numbers prominently in their work area. We recently updated our spill poster to include information in six languages. Your KCIW inspector will bring you a new poster during their next site inspection or visit.

Contact your assigned investigator for a copy or download the file to print.

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