Virginia Waste Management Board Adopts Regulatory Update
November 28, 2022
In its October 28, 2022, meeting, the Virginia Waste Management Board voted to adopt changes to the Virginia Solid Waste Management Regulations known as Amendment 9. Amendment 9 was initiated several years ago, and the amendments address issues that have arisen since the previous amendment. The changes involve updated standards for siting, operation, and monitoring of landfills as well as revising exemptions for open burning of waste. Following adoption by the Board, the amendment is now undergoing Executive Branch Review.
Some of the key changes that are part of this amendment include the following:
Changes to the siting requirements for new and expanded waste management facilities, including increasing the minimum setback (from 50 to 100’) from the waste management boundary to the facility boundary as well as increasing the minimum setback (from 200 to 500’) from the waste management boundary to any residence, school, daycare center, hospital nursing home, or recreational park area.
Adding a new requirement that active landfills conduct a periodic topographic survey to provide more accurate information about the landfill, assist with planning, and prevent overfilling. Landfills with a permitted disposal rate of 300 tons per day or less will be required to conduct this survey once every 24 months, while all other active landfills will be required to survey every 12 months.
Adding a requirement for weekly cover to be applied at active industrial landfills.
Changes to the landfill gas perimeter monitoring requirements, including a new requirement to notify any owners and occupants of occupied structures located within 500 feet of a monitoring point with a methane compliance level exceedance. Landfills would be required to provide written notification within 10 days and also to offer to conduct methane monitoring for the structure.
It may be very challenging for some landfills to comply with this requirement since there is no way to know who may occupy a structure at any particular point in time. For example, a shopping center or an office building might be occupied by customers, employees, service technicians, etc.
Revisions to landfill groundwater monitoring requirements to include any PFAS compounds and 1,4-dioxane in the event the Board of Health publishes Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for public drinking water systems.
Eliminating the allowance that citizens could conduct open burning of their household solid waste on their property if regularly scheduled collection services were unavailable. The amendment would limit the open burning allowance only to vegetative waste, clean wood, and clean paper products.
Changes to the regulation to promote compositing activities, such as additional permitting exemptions for certain compositing activities on farms or in conjunction with a public/private event or festival, and elimination of the requirement for certain compost facilities to conduct parasite testing given that past data has indicated that parasites have not posed issues with compost quality.
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About the Authors:
Josh Roth, PE, is a Vice President and Project Director with the Landfill Gas (LFG) Group in the SCS Reston, VA office. He supports LFG engineering projects involving remediation system design, emissions inventories and air permitting, migration and odor control, ambient air sampling and reporting, LFG and CER due diligence projects, GHG emission mitigation and reporting, field sampling and assessments, and general emissions control projects.
Mike Mclaughlin, PE, JD, is SCS Engineers’ Senior Vice President of Environmental Services. He is a licensed engineer and attorney with over 40 years of professional experience providing advice on environmental matters. He is an expert on environmental compliance, remediation, and allocation of response costs. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Virginia State Bar Environmental Law Section, and Budget Officer of the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (ABA SEER).