Business programs and services
Sewer construction or repair
If you work on your own private plumbing or side sewer projects, you need a City of Tacoma permit so City inspectors can ensure they are built to proper standards.
Pumping or side sewer work done in the City right-of-way must be done by a contractor licensed and bonded to work in the City of Tacoma. You may find them listed in the local telephone directory under "Sewer Contractors" or visit the Labor and Industries Web site to learn more about hiring a contractor.
Get your permit from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at:
Building and Land Use Services Division
747 Market Street, Room 345 (3rd floor)
Tacoma, WA 98402
For more information about permits, please call (253) 591-5030 or visit www.govME.com.
Special approved discharges to wastewater system
To discharge any additional or short-term waste into the wastewater system, you must have a special approved discharge permit.
Submit applications and fees at least 30 days before your requested discharge date. Fees are based on the amount and the strength of the discharged wastewater as well as a fixed administrative fee of $200-$650. (Some exceptions apply.)
Sampling may be required ensure the discharges comply with water quality requirements. Remember, we all have to do our part to keep pollutants out of our environment. Read our fish-friendly tips.
For more information about special approved discharge permits, fees and regulations, call (253) 591-5588.
The City of Tacoma literally grew up on the waterfront -- with downtown businesses helping Tacoma grow to what it is today. However, all those years of industry and progress were also somewhat harmful to the Thea Foss Waterway Foss and Commencement Bay
Today, the City of Tacoma wants to work with local businesses to ensure that we are creating new ways of working together to succeed in both the environmental and economic aspects of business.
Commercial Sewer Conservation Loan
If your business needs to install equipment to keep pollutants out of the sewer system, we might be able to help you pay for it.
The City offers low-interest loans to qualified business owners for up to 90 percent of the estimated cost for industrial pretreatment equipment, grease interceptors, oil/water separators or almost any other business-related equipment necessary to keep pollutants out of the sewer system.
The commercial sewer conservation loan program features an interest rate at 2 percent below the prime rate (with a minimum of 4%) on amounts between $10,000 and $100,000.
- Your commercial or industrial building must be located in the City of Tacoma and served by Tacoma Wastewater Management. (Check your utility bill if you are unsure.)
- Your pollution prevention equipment or repair must be for an existing commercial structure. (New construction or replacement projects already completed are not eligible.)
- Your business must have good credit.
If you have any questions about your eligibility, please call us at (253) 591-5588 to find out if you qualify.
Or fax the completed application to (253) 798-3999.
For more information about the loan program, please call (253) 798-7038
Not all wastewater is created equal. Industrial wastewater is one of the biggest sources of wastewater system contamination. Pretreatment is the process of removing harmful pollutants from the water before it reaches our wastewater system.
Pretreatment has many benefits:
- Keeps harmful pollutants out of wastewater system
- Protects the people who work with or near wastewater
- Prevents costly damage to wastewater treatment plants
- Increases chances of being able to recycle and reclaim industrial wastewater into products such as TAGRO
These benefits are why the City of Tacoma began our industrial pretreatment program years before the state Department of Ecology began requiring one.
Through our industrial pretreatment program, the City of Tacoma:
- Issues wastewater discharge permits
- Providing environmentally safe alternatives, such as the mobile washing certification program
Since its inception, the pretreatment program has reduced wastewater pollutants such as arsenic, copper, lead and zinc by 50 to 99 percent before enters the City wastewater system. Some of these toxic metals have even dropped below the detection limit. The program also applies to businesses outside of Tacoma, where wastewater flows into Tacoma's wastewater system, including Fife, Ruston, Fircrest and some parts of Federal Way and Pierce County.
To find out more about how your business can comply with the pretreatment program, call (253) 591-5588.
The City of Tacoma has inspectors that inspect more than 200 businesses a year as part of the City's industrial pretreatment program. These inspections, half of which are unannounced, are designed to help businesses comply with the pretreatment guidelines.
During a typical three-hour inspection, inspectors will do the following:
- Visit loading, storage and process areas
- Observe the facility in action
- Examine records
- Sample and test waste streams
- Check area storm drains -- which empty directly into streams, lakes and bays -- for signs of pollution
If the wastewater quality inspectors find something out of compliance with the pretreatment guidelines, they make recommendations for how to correct it and they offer technical support. The inspectors work with the businesses to address the problems and assist in any needed areas.
Surface water employees respond to a variety of wastewater drainage complaints for industrial, commercial, construction and residential sites. Most of these complaints are resolved through a site visit, but sometimes enforcement action must be taken through the Chapter 12.08 drainage ordinance.
When the City drainage ordinance is violated, the City has the authority to enforce the ordinance and control the source of pollution. If the business is permitted by the Washington State Department of Ecology, the City informs the Department of Ecology of any violations. The state is responsible for enforcing industrial National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit violations.
If you have a question about industrial inspections call (253) 591-5588. To report an illegal dumping contact (253) 383-2429.
Certified mobile washers
Mobile washing companies clean business vehicles on-site. If you hire a mobile washing company to clean your vehicles, make sure the company has been certified by the City. Remember -- regardless of who washes your vehicles -- you are responsible for the wash water on your property.
We certify and inspect mobile washing companies to make sure they keep dirty, soapy water out of the City storm drain system -- and our lakes, streams and bay.
Do you have a mobile washing company? Get certified by the City of Tacoma by calling (253) 591-5588.
E-mail contact for this page: Community Relations