DEC Publishes Final Revised Solid Waste Management Regulations

After 18 months of public comment and revisions to its solid waste regulations, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) has published the finalized version of the regulations, which will take effect on November 4, 2017.

DEC’s solid waste management regulations – codified in 6 NYCRR Part 360 – govern the reuse, recycling, transportation, and disposal of solid waste.  The newly published revisions are the first substantial change to the Part 360 regulations since 1992.  The revisions update the regulations and clarify their application to various waste products, such as navigational dredge spoils, historic fill, wood debris, and biohazard incident waste.

Specific objectives of the revision include:

  • Enhancing the regulatory controls on drilling wastes and high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) wastes.
  • Requiring the installation and operation of radiation detectors at solid waste management facilities that receive drilling and production wastes or municipal solid wastes.
  • Improving the management and tracking of construction and demolition debris (C&D) and fill material.
  • Expanding allowances for the reuse of fill materials in environmentally protective situations.
  • Strengthening oversight of previously unregulated mulch-processing facilities to address potential threats to water quality and the environment across the state.
  • Providing enhanced support for recycling operations through changes in siting requirements and grant funding mechanisms to municipalities.

Permitting requirements and restrictions on beneficial use of fill material will change significantly under the revised Part 360 regulations.  For instance:

  • Fill management facilities that currently operate only under a registration, but have more than 500 tons per day throughput, will need to apply for and be covered by a full Part 360 permit, which can be a complicated and lengthy process; other facilities that were entirely exempt may now also require a registration or full Part 360 permit.
  • Fill material previously considered presumptively clean but that originates within the City of New York is now subject to significant analytical sampling requirements before it can be beneficially used at an off-site location.
  • Any facility holding existing Beneficial Use Determinations must request renewal within 180 days of the effective date of the rules, or that BUD will expire, requiring that DEC make a a new individual decision.
  • Transporters of even relatively small quantities of C&D debris will now need to be covered by a waste transporter permit and track and retain records of fill disposal.

DEC initially published its proposed Part 360 revisions in March 2016 and, after an initial round of public comment, published further revisions in June 2017.  Accompanying the final regulations are DEC’s updated responses to public comments regarding the June 2017 revisions.

SPR has been actively involved in reviewing and drafting comments on the new Part 360 regulations through the Environmental & Energy Law Section of the New York State Bar Association.  SPR partner Michael Bogin is the co-chair of the Section’s Committee on Solid Waste; please contact him for more information about the revised Part 360 regulations.