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You may have heard of the recent ruling from the Washington State Department of Health, requiring espresso stands and coffee shops to have a permanently plumbed sink and toilet/bathroom.

  The new rule passed in March goes fully into effect on September 1st.

The WAC or Washington Administrative Code is a mind-numbing series of rules and regulations businesses must abide by. In this particular case, concerning food, espresso stands, and related industries, it's 152 pages.

Previously, smaller stands were allowed to even use bottled water to clean and disinfect,  it was then sometimes gathered in a bucket and haul it away.

Some stands have a small sink like what you'd find in a camper or RV, and they can then empty the wastewater tank. They used a water tank to supply the sink for washing.

But now they have to prove they have a sink and toilet that's tied into a water and sewer system, like a home or brick and mortar business.

  We know of at least 8 such stands, and there are more.

We did a quick drive around the region, and we know of at least 8 small establishments that do not have permanent plumbing. This rule also could affect small stands that do have an employee-only bathroom. They will now have to adjust their workspace to allow potential customer traffic.

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   Petitions have been started around the state.

Several petitions have been started around the state to protest this move. Many espresso stand owners question why a drive-thru stand would require permanent plumbing, which makes sense. One Seattle-area stand owner says the cost to tie into a water-sewer system could cost upwards of $100K.

  Will also hurt resale value.

Even if the DOH decides to grandfather in existing stands with no plumbing, owners say they won't be able to sell their business or pass it down to another owner in the family because it won't meet the new codes.

We have searched numerous areas of the DOH and other administrative codes, but have not been able to find a concrete, specific reason for this code change, and nobody at the state is talking.

   If you wish to voice your opinion, the DOH number for licensing issues, complaints, and related issues is  360-236-4700.

 

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