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Washington Winery Wastewater Permit to Affect Just 19% of State Wineries

A proposed winery wastewater permit system in Washington will affect just 19 percent of the wineries in the state, according to the Washington Department of Ecology’s draft permit documents, Great Northwest Wine reports.

Wineries that make more than 7,500 cases a year will be required to get discharge permits and, while those that produce 7,500 cases or more per year account for 96% of the state’s wine, that only accounts for 19% of wineries. Just 14 wineries in the state have discharge permits at this time, according to the article.

The state’s fact sheet said that, while the Washington winemaking industry has not been a major contributor to pollution, “there are examples of groundwater contamination from facilities with wastewater that have similar characteristics and that use similar discharge methods.” The state hopes that by developing a statewide general permit to cover wastewater discharges from wineries, it will be able to:

  • Establish waste management practices for wineries to protect groundwater, surface water, and wastewater treatment plants;
  • Build cooperative relationships with winery owners and operators;
  • Gain a better understanding of the quantity and quality of wastewater discharges from Washington wineries;
  • Learn from permittees what practices and tools they use to effectively manage their wastewater.

June 11 is the last day to submit comments on the Preliminary Draft of the Winery General Permit and Fact Sheet. The final winery general permit will be issued in December 2017.

Vintners and growers in the US have long been associated with the move toward sustainability. Increasingly, wineries are using alternate energy to power equipment, “green” building material for structures, and energy efficient refrigeration and lighting fixtures, writes Seacoast Online.

For example, in 2015, Jackson Family Wines – a family-owned wine company in Santa Rosa, California – installed 21 Tesla Energy stationary energy storage systems for a total of 4.2 megawatts of storage capacity. JFW was among the first companies in the nation to collaborate with Tesla on this initiative designed to reshape the way energy is managed for more sustainable operations. To date, through its energy efficiency initiatives alone, the company has documented savings greater than $15 million. Jackson Family Wines won a 2016 Environmental Leader Project of the Year Award for its Tesla Stationary Energy Storage System initiative.


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