Wine Wastewater Permit
There was a definite tension in the room on Tuesday as two spokespersons for the Washington Department of Ecology presented information on the DOE’s proposed General Winery Permit. Winery operators that produce a certain level of wine per year would have to obtain a permit to deal with wastewater. DOE’s Water Quality Specialist, Chelsea Desforges
DESFORGES: The General Permit is a more efficient, cheaper way of providing one permit that applies to a large number of wineries. This is different from our current practice of issuing individual permits which are both expensive and time consuming.
Last May, the DOE proposed the general permit for winery wastewater discharges to protect water quality by requiring wineries to implement protective wastewater management practices. This will of course mean more time, money and regulation for the wineries.
DESFORGES: Although it varies, if we assume it typically takes six gallons of water to make one gallon of wine, this means that 120-million gallons of winery wastewater was produced last year with no state-wide guidelines for proper disposal.
Desforges reiterated that the general permit guidelines are still being reviewed but there were a great many questions from the wine producers.
DESFORGES: The wine industry is relatively green with many wineries already implementing best management practices for their wastewater. Some wineries, however, don’t realize how strong the wastewater they generate is. Winery wastewater has a high organic load, low pH, variable nutrient levels all of which pose a potential risk to the environment.
That’s today’s Fruit Grower Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network of the West.