Wastewater

All wastewater discharged to the sanitary sewer system (i.e. poured down a drain or flushed down a toilet) must comply with local, state and federal standards. Rules are designed to protect surface waters, health and safety in the treatment works, and to maintain the quality of biosolids at wastewater treatment plants.  

An industrial wastewater discharge permit was recently issued for the UW. Our permit includes King County local sewer limits and best management practices available to all operations on the Seattle campus that generate wastewater.

The best management practices include chemical waste management under the UW Treatment by Generator Program. Water from these process wastes can be treated and discharged to the sanitary sewer. These activities occur at UW research and academic laboratories, health care facilities, animal care facilities and the medical centers. We have also incorporated best management practices from the King County Local Hazardous Waste Management Program Laboratory Waste Management Guide.

Other permitted discharges are from the following sources:

  • Shops and maintenance facilities
  • Compost leachate and contaminated stormwater
  • Contaminated groundwater from power plant
  • Miscellaneous oil/water separators
  • Fountain draining and cleaning
  • Pressure washing
  • Parking lot and roadway sweeping and cleaning

All wastes discharged to the sanitary sewer system must comply with permit limits.

If you are outside King County (Tacoma, Pack Forest and Friday Harbor), you are not allowed to pour any chemicals down the drain without explicit permission. Local sewer limits will vary, depending on the location or activity, and must be approved on a case-by-case basis.

Construction, alterations and maintenance projects may also generate wastewater that must be disposed of properly. Lead, asbestos and other hazardous materials may cause the wash water to exceed and violate sewer discharge limits. If hazardous materials could be in your wash water, you must collect samples and have them tested. If the water violates local sewer discharge limits and cannot be treated, then it must be disposed of as a dangerous waste. Please contact EH&S with questions at 206.616.5835 or email chmwaste@uw.edu.

Services available

EH&S provides assistance with managing wastewater discharges and complying with the UW Wastewater Discharge Permit.