Water Quality Billing Frequently Asked Questions

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Questions

Alaska regulations 18 AAC 72.956, 18 AAC 72.957, and 18 AAC 72.959 describe fees for discharge of waste and wastewater. These fees cover average cost of permit issuance and permit maintenance.

Questions about payment, e.g. whether a payment was received, should be directed to DEC Accounts Receivable by email at DEC.ADEC.Userfees@alaska.gov, or by telephone at (907) 465-5115.

Questions about permit fee categories or fee amounts should be directed to Chris Novell (907) 465-5146 or email: water.billing.help@alaska.gov.

The fees for wastewater discharges under 18 AAC 72 were amended on October 22, 2016 and the fee tables at http://dec.alaska.gov/water/wwdp/online_permitting/fees.htm show the current fixed fees for each category of discharges. If your discharge type is not included in the fixed fee table, the discharge is subject to an hourly or negotiated fee as described in 18 AAC 72.959.

For services without a fixed fee, a permittee may be billed for the hours of DEC staff work to issue an individual permit and for compliance after the permit is issued. Staff time will be tracked and the billing will reflect the actual number of hours worked on the permit. Alternatively, a permittee may receive a negotiated fee that is based on DEC's actual costs to issue a permit plus the calculated costs of permit maintenance over the life of the permit. DEC will propose an annual flat fee to cover all DEC costs for the permit.

Alaska Statute 37.10.052 requires that resource agency fees not exceed the estimated reasonable direct cost of providing regulatory service. DEC periodically reviews the list of fixed fees to identify any changes in the average actual and direct cost of providing each regulatory service and may adjust fees by amending the regulations. As a result of the most recent review and adjustment, some fees increased or decreased, while others were restructured as hourly or negotiated fees.

Not necessarily. It is your responsibility to understand the terms of your permit, including the expiration date, and to work with your DEC permitter to assure continued coverage.

General questions on the billing process or reason you are receiving an invoice or statement should be directed to Chris Novell (907) 465-5146 or email: water.billing.help@alaska.gov.

Questions on how to pay your bill should be directed to DEC Accounts Receivable at (907) 465-5115 or email dec.adec.userfees@alaska.gov.

You may request a fee review by the Director of the Division of Water. A request for a fee review must be made within 30 days after you receive the fee invoice. Requests must be in writing, but can be made by mail, e-mail or facsimile. More information about the fee review process is located on the DEC Commissioner's Office webpage at http://dec.alaska.gov/commish/fee-reviews.htm. You may use the form located at http://dec.alaska.gov/commish/documents/Fee%20review.pdf to request a fee review.

DEC provides the procedures for transferring a permit in the permit Part named "Transfer of Ownership" or "Transfers." APDES permits require the permittee to notify DEC in advance of a transfer of ownership. APDES regulations also require that a written agreement containing a specific date for transfer of permit responsibility, coverage, and liability between the current and new permittee be provided to DEC prior to the transfer of ownership. Provide the documents required in your permit to the permit writer 30 days in advance of the proposed transfer of ownership. DEC will make the changes necessary to redirect invoices to the new owner.

If your permit was issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and authority for the permit has not been transferred to DEC under NPDES Primacy, follow EPA's instructions for the transfer of the permit to a new owner and provide copies of the documents to Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Wastewater Discharge Authorization Program, 555 Cordova Street, Anchorage, AK, 99501-2617.

You will receive an invoice if you are discharging. If you are not discharging and your permit has not yet been issued or reissued, your invoice may have been issued in error. Please contact Chris Novell (907) 465-5146 or email: water.billing.help@alaska.gov. Provide the permit number and invoice number and we will research the issue. If you received the invoice in error we will credit the invoice amount or refund the payment if you have already paid.

No. The fee reduction for non-operating facilities was repealed on December 23, 2009.

A Certificate of Number of People Employed by a business is needed for documentation before a facility may receive a reduction in the fee. The form can be found at http://dec.alaska.gov/water/wwdp/online_permitting/fee_reductions.htm. Complete, sign, and send the form to the Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Water Admin Information, 410 Willoughby Avenue, Suite 303, PO Box 111800, Juneau, AK 99801 or email: water.billing.help@alaska.gov.

The reduction amount for different permit types can be found on page two of the Certificate of Number of Employees form.

No. The reduction is only for "facilities owned by businesses with 20 or fewer employees," not governmental organizations.

Yes. Contact Chris Novell at (907) 465-5146 or email: water.billing.help@alaska.gov to receive your refund.

Yes, for routine business of the school. The Alaska Lesgislature exempted schools from fees for inspection, permit preparation and administration, plan review and approval, or certain other services provided by DEC, under certain emergency scenaios. Under Alaska Statute 44.46.0259(d). "school" means a public or private school for children of school age, or a head start center that recieves federal financial assistance under defined law.

Yes. For assistance in setting up a payment plan, contact Chris Novell (907) 465-5146 or email: water.billing.help@alaska.gov.

Yes, until transfer is final and ownership is final. The fee is the responsibility of the current owner. After ownership of a facility has transferred to a new owner and the written transfer agreement submitted to DEC, the responsibility to pay the permit fee will shift to the new owner.

To correct an error on your invoice, please contact Chris Novell (907) 465-5146 or email: water.billing.help@alaska.gov. For a quicker response, be prepared to provide your permit number and the invoice number. DEC will adjust the account if there was a billing error.

The invoices are typically mailed in November or December for the following calendar year. Payment is due no later than 30 days from the invoice issuance date.

Yes. A late fee of $20 is charged for each month that the payment is late.

Because of differences in data systems, the permit number in the billing system may require abbreviation. If the numbers appear entirely different, contact Chris Novell (907) 465-5146 or email: water.billing.help@alaska.gov to determine which number is correct.

No, EPA issues authorizations for seafood processing discharges under the General Permit for Offshore Seafood Processors in Alaska (AKG52000), effective March 1, 2010 to February 28, 2015. Information about EPA's general permit is located on EPA's permitting website: http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/WATER.NSF/NPDES+Permits/General+NPDES+Permits for dischargers greater than three miles from shore.

If a fishing vessel enters Alaskan waters and discharges any wastewater including, for example, gray water or washdown water while off-loading in port; the permittee will need to obtain a wastewater discharge authorization from DEC and submit a permit fee. If you are unsure which waters you will be discharging to, please contact Clynda Case at (907) 376-1865 or email clynda.case@alaska.gov for more information.

Fees for the regulatory service are estimated by DEC based on a scope of services agreed upon by the applicant/permittee and DEC. A cooperative services agreement (CSA) is drafted and signed by each party that describes the scope of services, estimated fees, and terms and conditions regarding payment terms or modifications to the agreement. Once the CSA is executed, DEC conducts the required services and invoices the applicant/permittee at least quarterly.