The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has finalized revisions to the state's solid waste management regulations, commonly referred to as Part 360. In the first major overhaul of the program in 20 years, these regulations set design standards and operational criteria for all solid waste management facilities and go into effect on November 4, 2017.
"Ensuring every community has access to clean water supplies is critical, and illegal dumping and inappropriate waste management are a growing threat to our precious groundwater resources. Under Governor Cuomo, New York is setting a national standard for solid waste management and waste recycling," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement. "As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of New York's recycling laws, these final regulations incorporate public comments we received and will ensure New York State remains a leader in protecting our communities and natural resources through enhanced recycling and waste management. DEC is committed to working in partnership with local governments that serve on the front lines of waste management."
DEC's comprehensive revisions include the addition of solid waste management facilities, activities, and waste streams that are not currently addressed within existing Part 360, to institute a level of control necessary to ensure protection of human health and the environment. In addition, these amendments relax or eliminate existing requirements that have proven to be burdensome to the regulated community with little or no environmental benefit.
The Part 360 series rulemaking process formally began in February 2016. Following extensive public outreach that included two public comment periods, five public hearings, and more than 25 workshops and technical meetings with stakeholders, and careful consideration of thousands of comments, the revised Part 360 series regulations are now final.
The final regulations contain comprehensive revisions to the State's existing solid waste management regulations, including:
- Enhanced Regulatory Controls on Wastes from Oil and Gas Production
The final regulations enhance the regulatory controls on drilling wastes and high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) wastes. These regulations strengthen existing prohibitions on the disposal of flowback water and production brine from oil and gas production, increase testing requirements and conditions for the reuse of brines for dust and ice control on roads while prohibiting the reuse of flowback water and Marcellus Shale production brines, and require waste-tracking documents for the transport of most drilling and production wastes. In addition, the regulations require the installation and operation of radiation detectors at solid waste management facilities that receive drilling and production wastes or municipal solid wastes.
- Improved Construction and Demolition Debris and Fill Material Management
The final regulations combat the emerging threat posed by the illegal dumping of construction and demolition debris (C&D) and fill material. The regulations require enhanced tracking for C&D debris and fill material generated in New York City, as well as for certain fill material generated anywhere in the state. The regulations also limit the exempt disposal of C&D debris, and provide expanded allowance for the reuse of fill materials in environmentally protective situations.
- Improved Management of Compost and Mulch
The final regulations strengthen oversight of previously unregulated mulch-processing facilities to address potential threats to water quality and the environment across the state. New criteria have also been added to govern facilities that produce and store mulch to reduce environmental impacts from larger mulch facilities, including odors, dust, groundwater, and fires. Enhanced criteria for composting facilities to address potential groundwater impacts have also been added.
- Enhanced Support for Recycling
The final regulations make it easier to site facilities that process organic wastes while providing appropriate environmental protections. The regulations also change how grants to municipalities are provided to ensure that timely funding is available for both priority infrastructure projects and operational assistance such as support for recycling coordinators.
A link to the text of the final regulations and associated rulemaking documents is available on DEC's website.