DEP Proposes to Amend the Solid Waste Management Rules Regulating Processing Facilities and Landfills

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Today, the Board of Environmental Protection set February 18, 2010 as the date for a public hearing on proposed amendments to the rules governing both solid waste processing facilities and landfills.  The amendments, most notably, would implement recycling requirements at processing facilities and impose new standards on landfills using or proposing to use alternative daily cover.

Summary of Proposed Amendments Affecting Processing Facilities

As part of the package of amendments, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) proposes to amend Chapter 409 (Processing Facilities) of its Rules to require all new or expanded solid waste processing facilities that generate residue to maximize the amount of material recycled.  The goal is to minimize the amount of residue remaining after processing that must be sent to a landfill or otherwise disposed of.  Specifically, DEP proposes to implement the requirement, imposed by statute (38 M.R.S. § 1310-N(5-A)), that new or expanded processing facilities must demonstrate that the facility will recycle or process into fuel for combustion all waste accepted at the facility to the “maximum extent practicable, but in no case at a rate less than 50%.”  The term “maximum extent practicable” is defined as part of the proposed amendments.

The scope of the amendments to Chapter 409 is not limited to new or expanded solid waste processing facilities.  Existing facilities would have to demonstrate compliance with the recycling requirement in their annual reports, starting with the 2010 report due February 28, 2011.

Processing facilities also will have to demonstrate in their annual reports that their operations are consistent with the recycling provisions of the State’s waste management and recycling plan developed by the State Planning Office.   

Summary of Proposed Amendments Affecting Landfills

DEP also proposes to amend Chapter 401 (Landfill Siting, Design and Operation) of its Rules.  These amendments would limit the use of residue from the processing of construction and demolition debris (CDD) as daily or operational cover, or as a shaping and grading material, to landfills with DEP-approved active gas collection and control systems.  In addition, the amendments establish new standards for all alternative forms of cover, not just CDD residue, intended to control odor and prevent adverse environmental impacts.

As the amendment language is drafted, landfills currently using an alternative cover, even though previously approved by DEP, will have to demonstrate compliance with the new standards.  Landfill operators will have 30 days from the effective date of the amendments to submit materials showing compliance to DEP.  Any landfill currently using CDD residue as cover that does not have a DEP-approved active gas collection and control system will have to cease using that form of alternative cover within 30 days of the effective date of the amendments.

Opportunity for Comment

The February 18 public hearing on the amendments will be held at the Augusta Civic Center in conjunction with the Board of Environmental Protection’s regularly scheduled meeting.  The exact time of the public hearing has not yet been set.  DEP also will be accepting written comments on the amendments.

If you have any questions about the proposed amendments, please feel free to contact Tom Doyle at (207) 791-1214 (tdoyle@pierceatwood.com) or Helen Edmonds at (207) 622-6311 (hedmonds@pierceatwood.com).