APRIL 2009

Oregon proposes amendments to composting facility rules

Composting contributes to achieving Oregon’s solid waste recovery goal of 50 percent by 2009. In 2006, 41 permitted composting facilities in the state composted over 591,000 tons of feedstock, which accounted for 15 percent of all solid waste diverted from landfills.

The Oregon DEQ supports and encourages composting. At the same time, if composting is not conducted in the proper manner, or if conducted at an improper location, composting presents potential environmental problems, most notably to surface water and groundwater.

DEQ is proposing significant amendments to the existing rules for composting facilities to ensure protection of public health and the environment while allowing Oregon’s composting industry to grow.

The rules remove limitations on feedstocks agricultural composters may use. They also require that agricultural composters meet the same performance standards as all other composters.

Other proposed changes to the composting rules include:

  • Redefine feedstock types based on physical contaminants and pathogen-carrying properties.
  • Exempt more small facilities from screening and permitting.
  • Implement a fee for initial facility screening; adjust fees for plan approval and annual compliance fees.
  • Clarify design and operational requirements for composting facilities.
  • Add testing requirements for pathogen reduction.
  • Clarify financial assurance requirements for composting facilities and specify that financial assurance requirements apply to all solid waste disposal facilities covered in OAR 340, Division 96.
  • Add public notice requirements for renewal of several solid waste permits.

The proposed rules apply to all existing and new composting facilities, including commercial, agricultural, institutional and government composting facilities.

How to review documents

The rulemaking documents can be reviewed at www.deq.state.or.us/lq/sw/compost/rulemaking.htm . For hard copy review, please contact Paula Carson at 503-229-6832 for more information.

How to comment

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted in writing via mail, fax, e-mail or on our blog any time prior to the comment deadline of 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 30, 2009. Written and oral comments may also be submitted during any of the public hearings specified below. It is not necessary to attend a hearing to comment. Written comments received prior to the deadline are treated the same as oral comments.

Written comments may be mailed, faxed or e-mailed to:

Mail: Oregon DEQ, Land Quality Div.
811 SW 6th Ave.

Portland, OR 97241

Attn: Paula Carson

Fax: 503-229-6977

E-mail: compostingrules@deq.state.or.us

E-mail comments will be acknowledged immediately. If there is a delay between servers, e-mails may not be received before the deadline.

DEQ is also, for the first time and as a pilot project, making the rules available on a blog for public comment and discussion. The blog is located at www.deq.state.or.us/DEQBlog/

Public hearings

Public hearings will be held at three locations throughout the state in April. Each hearing will begin with an overview of the proposed rule changes, followed by the opportunity for members of the public to provide oral and written comment. All oral comments will be recorded and reviewed by DEQ. Please notify DEQ in advance if you wish to join the meeting by telephone.

Eugene – Thursday, April 23, 2009
Informational Meeting: 6 p.m.
Public Hearing: 7 p.m.

Oregon DEQ Office

1102 Lincoln Street, Suite 210

Call in: 503.378.3003

Bend – Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Informational Meeting: 6 p.m.

Public Hearing: 7 p.m.

Oregon DEQ Office

475 NE Bellevue, Suite 110

Call in: 503.378.3313

Portland – Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Informational Meeting: 6 p.m.

Public Hearing: 7 p.m.

DEQ Headquarters

811 SW 6t
h Avenue, 10th Floor

Comment deadline is 5 p.m. Thursday, April 30, 2009

All comments are due to DEQ by 5 p.m. Thursday, April 30, 2009. DEQ cannot consider comments from any party received after the deadline for public comment.

DEQ will prepare a response to all comments received during the public hearing and comment period and may modify the proposed rules. DEQ plans to recommend that the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) adopt the rules at the Commission’s August, 2009 meeting. DEQ will notify persons of the time and place for final EQC action if they submit comments during the hearing or comment period or request to be placed on DEQ’s mailing list for this rulemaking.

The proposed rules make the following significant changes to the structure of DEQ’s composting program:

All facilities, both existing and new, will be screened to evaluate the degree of environmental risk posed by the facility. Low risk facilities will operate under a Registration permit. Higher risk facilities will be required to provide an Operations Plan for DEQ approval that addresses the identified risks. These facilities will operate under a Composting Permit.

The rules give operators the responsibility and flexibility to design, construct, and manage their operations – subject to DEQ approval – to meet the performance measures.

DEQ will focus its inspection, technical assistance and compliance efforts on the facilities that present significant environmental risks.

Comments may be submitted prior to the deadline of 5 p.m. on April 30, 2009.