OLYMPIA, Washington — A new rule announced from the Washington Department of Ecology in 2017 that is now going into effect means that about 100 wineries in the state will need to pay extra for dumping waste water. The permit is very similar to what’s regulated for fruit orchards and vegetable fields of the same size, but the rule had not applied to grape harvesters until now.
It’s unclear which local wineries in the Walla Walla Valley will be included on the list, but based on the American Registry’s list of 25 largest wineries in Washington, the following Walla Walla vintners would likely need to pay up: Canoe Ridge Vineyards, Dunham Cellars, Le’Cole No. 41, and Three Rivers Winery.
The rules are the same as the ones applied to orchards, where vineyards that dump at least 53,505 gallons of waste water per year will come under the regulation. Wineries that produce less than 17,835 gallons of wine a year will be exempt from the rules, according to information from the department. The waste water permit fee is slated to be $6,731 per year.
Washington has more than 1,000 licensed wineries and the Walla Walla Valley is home to more than 15 percent of them.