DEC Publishes Final Revisions to Solid Waste Management Regulations

Almost five years after publishing the first substantial revisions to its solid waste management regulations, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) published a new set of final revisions to the regulations, which became effective on July 22, 2023.

DEC’s solid waste management regulations (the Part 360 Regulations) govern the management of solid waste including its transportation, recycling, reuse, and disposal. The new Part 360 regulatory revisions are intended to increase the amount of solid waste that is reused or recycled in New York State. They also incorporate certain statutory changes to the NYS Environmental Conservation Law pertaining to composting and groundwater monitoring and include other “technical amendments and clarifications” to the prior regulatory revisions. Especially noteworthy changes in the amended Part 360 Regulations are described below.

The revised Part 360 Regulations add several new predetermined beneficial use determinations (BUDs), expanding the types of materials that are categorically eligible for certain kinds of re-use:

  • The existing on-site excavated material predetermined BUD now allows for re-use of uncontaminated concrete or concrete products, asphalt pavement or millings, and brick from demolition of on-site structures as backfill.
  • One new predetermined BUD allows re-use of excavated materials pursuant to a municipally-administered soil reuse program approved by DEC.
  • Two new predetermined BUDs for recycled aggregate from bricks, concrete pavement, and/or asphalt pavement allow the use of such materials for certain subbase applications.
  • Two new predetermined BUDs allow the use of dewatered solids and wet concrete generated from concrete grinding slurry on road construction and maintenance projects.
  • One new predetermined BUD allows the incorporation of concrete and other masonry products received at a ready-mix plant into new recycled concrete products.
  • One new predetermined BUD allows for the use of scrap metal that “meets a commercial commodity specification for use in an industrial or manufacturing process.”

DEC also updated the requirements for reuse of excavated fill material. The new regulations clarify that fill qualifying for a predetermined beneficial use can only be composed of material excavated during construction or maintenance activities. Significantly, DEC replaced the previous three fill material types (General Fill, Restricted-Use Fill, and Limited-Use Fill) with five fill types, each with revised restrictions on end use, physical composition, and maximum contaminant concentration levels as outlined in the table below. Moreover, revised (and potentially burdensome) sampling requirements apply to construction and demolition (C&D) debris facilities that supply fill material.

Permitting and registration requirements will also change for certain operations under the revised Part 360 Regulations. For example, facilities storing septage must now obtain a permit rather than a registration. Regulated medical waste facilities with federal authorizations can now obtain a registration, rather than a permit. Meanwhile, seasonal waste collection events conducted by municipalities no longer need either a registration or permit.

DEC also implemented certain regulatory changes intended to protect drinking water quality. For instance, DEC strengthened liner requirements for certain kinds of landfills, including C&D debris landfills. The revised regulations prohibit the siting of composting, mulch processing, or C&D debris handling facilities in any mine on Long Island. DEC revised groundwater monitoring and other controls for composting and mulch facilities on Long Island.

Transition deadlines for compliance with the new Part 360 Regulations vary depending upon the operable regulatory provision. For instance, C&D debris landfills must comply with revised operating requirements within 180 days of July 22, 2023 – by January 18, 2024. Facilities subject to the requirements for pre-determined beneficial use of excavated material must comply with those revised requirements within 240 days of July 22, 2023 – by March 18, 2024. Facility owners, operators, and transporters would be wise to consult with legal counsel regarding the transition deadline(s) applicable to a particular operation.

SPR has been actively involved in reviewing and commenting upon the revised Part 360 Regulations. Please contact SPR Principals Michael Bogin and Maggie Macdonald for further information about the revised Part 360 Regulations.