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Stream Flow Mitigation Certificates (mitigation certificates) allow an exempt well user to use a well for domestic use and not be subject to the Little Spokane River Instream Flow Rule.
The Department of Ecology has not issued a water right permit in the Little Spokane River Basin (WRIA 55) in the last 20 years because the Little Spokane River does not meet the minimum flow criteria in the Little Spokane River Instream Flow Rule (WAC 173-555). The Hirst Decision made it clear that permit exempt wells are subject to the same criteria, and required Counties to apply that criteria at the time of a building permit application.
Any owner of a parcel that is within the approved mitigation area and plans to get a building permit within the next two (2) years.
Yes, along with meeting the setback requirements from existing wells that are in use.
You can use SCOUT, Spokane County’s online parcel mapping application, to see if your parcel is in the approved mitigation area.(1) Use the link above to go to the SCOUT dashboard.
(2) Enter and search for your parcel number or address.
(3) Click on the map.
(4) Using the Layers icon (), choose Critical Areas, then check Watershed Bounderies (WRIA) AND Water Bank Approved Mitigation Area. This will show you which WRIA you're property is in as well as the area where properties qualify to apply for mitigation certificates in the Little Spokane River watershed (WRIA 55). It can take some time to load the map layers so give it several seconds to load.
You are eligible for a mitigation certificate as long as the well serving the residence is located in the Approved Mitigation Area.
A one-year extension can be granted if a written request is submitted prior to the end of the two-year period. After the two-year period, or three-year period with an extension, Spokane County refunds the amount paid for the certificate minus administrative costs and returns the water back to the Little Spokane Water Bank.
The mitigation certificate allows reasonable indoor and incidental outdoor water use for the number of people in the household for one residence and a specific area of outdoor noncommercial irrigation of landscaping and/or garden.
Domestic use at one single-family residence includes water used for drinking, bathing, sanitary purposes, cooking, laundering and other incidental household uses. Incidental uses must minimize the consumptive use of water. Examples of incidental household uses include, but are not limited to: washing windows, car washing, cleaning exterior structures, care of household pets, and watering potted plants
When purchasing a mitigation certificate the applicant must also sign a property covenant limiting the amount of water use on the parcel from the onsite well to the amount of the mitigation certificate. To comply with our agreement with the Washington Department of Ecology to offer mitigation certificates, Spokane County must report the actual amount of outdoor irrigation based on a review of aerial photography. The applicant must also grant an avigation easement so that Spokane County can utilize aerial methods to determine compliance with limitations on outdoor irrigation from onsite sources if an aerial photo is not sufficient.
Spokane County has also enacted an ordinance that governs the operation of the Little Spokane Water Bank. The ordinance specifies fines for exceeding the outdoor irrigation use allowed by the mitigation certificate. Spokane County will make every attempt to work with the property owner to comply with the limitations of the mitigation certificate before issuing a fine.
Livestock watering is not covered by this Mitigation Certificate. Keeping livestock is not associated with any Spokane County permitting activity. Water use associated with keeping livestock is regulated under the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) and the Washington Administrative Code (WAC). Consult the Washington Department of Ecology for questions related to livestock watering in Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 55.
The process includes the following steps:
1. The applicant completes an online application.
2. Spokane County Environmental Services staff reviews the application. If additional information is required staff will contact the applicant.
3. After review, staff will email a completed and approved application along with the property covenant and avigation easement to the applicant.
4. The applicant will print and sign the application and property covenant, bring hard copies down to Spokane County Building and Planning along with payment.
5. Staff will generate the mitigation certificate and record the certificate, covenant, and easement with the Spokane County Auditor.
6. Staff will email the recording number and mail the hard copy of the recorded certificate to the applicant.
7. The applicant will provide the recording number along with information related to the setback requirements to Building and Planning staff when applying for a building permit.
You can call to schedule an appointment for staff to work with you to complete the application.
There are two available mitigation packages:
1. Indoor use and incidental outdoor use and 2,000 square feet of irrigated noncommercial landscape and/or garden: $3,000.
2. Indoor use and incidental outdoor use and 6,000 square feet of irrigated noncommercial landscape and/or garden: $5,000.
The mitigation certificate runs with the parcel and transfers to the new owner.
A mitigation certificate is specific to a parcel and can only be moved to another location under limited circumstances upon approval of Spokane County.
Spokane County is working hard to acquire rights that will allow issuance of mitigation certificates in additional areas. As soon as we have rights to add to the bank we will move quickly to make certificates available in those areas.