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Solid Waste Rulemaking in New York State

August 25, 2023

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has had a busy 2023 with adopted and proposed rulemaking as well as a draft State Solid Waste Management Plan. Everyone, including solid waste program managers, facility operators, community planners, and consultants have had their work cut out for them to keep up with proposed plans, laws, and regulations which are poised to have a dramatic effect on how solid waste is managed in New York State.

In 2023 thus far the NYSDEC has taken the following actions:

  • Adopted revised Part 360 Series regulations on June 7, 2023 (effective July 22, 2023) with such notable changes as siting restrictions for landfill facilities and transfer stations near schools and residences and increased geomembrane thickness requirements.
  • Issued a draft State Solid Waste Management Plan for public comment in March 2023 which laid out goals for the industry including:
    • Developing Extended Reducer Responsibility (EPR) for a litany of materials including paper and packaging, textiles, shoes, furniture, climate impacting materials, gas cylinders, e-cigarettes/vaping devices, solar panels, wind turbine blades, electric vehicle batteries, household hazardous waste, and mattresses;
    • Expanding and amending the existing Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law to include smaller food scraps generators and eliminate the mileage limit for organics recycling facilities; and
    • Requiring a per-ton disposal disincentive fee on all waste landfilled or combusted in New York State.
  • Held a stakeholder meeting and requested public input in June regarding a proposed rulemaking for landfill leachate management. The preliminary proposal contemplates making further revision to Part 360 and Part 363 to require all operating MSW landfill facilities in New York State to solidify and dispose of leachate on-site. The initial concept would not allow any leachate to leave the landfill site and would not allow for a discharge permit (SPDES) for on-site treatment and discharge to surface waters. Public input was accepted through June 28, 2023 but due to the close timeframe the State is allowing continued input after this date; the State expects to issue draft rulemaking by the end of 2023.
  • Held a stakeholder meeting on June 15, 2023 to request public input on proposed cap-and-invest rulemaking specifically related to the waste sector. The State aims to mimic California, Washington, and Quebec, Canada in creating an economy-wide program imposing emissions limits.
  • Issued Draft Divisions of Materials Management Program Policy 7 – Biosolids Recycling in New York State – Interim Strategy for the Control of PFAS Compounds in June 2023 and accepted public comments through July 10, 2023. The draft policy looks to implement a sampling procedure and interim guidelines for PFOA and PFOS in biosolids being land applied or recycled. While this is seemingly an issue for wastewater treatment facilities, it has the potential to cause a ripple effect in the solid waste management space as a portion of biosolids currently being managed outside of landfills and incinerators may require new disposal outlets as they are found to exceed the interim thresholds. This is all while available landfill disposal capacity continues to dwindle.

The solid waste industry in New York State is facing many potential changes and challenges in the coming months which are reflective of what’s likely to be seen or is already being seen across the industry. B&L staff continue to be engaged in these developments – attending conferences, webinars, and stakeholder meetings as well as actively participating in our solid waste and recycling associations to assist in generating comments and feedback to the NYSDEC. In addition, we are committing our staffing resources to assist our clients in planning and design efforts to enable them to adapt to the quickly changing solid waste management landscape. For more information about these developments and how they may impact your community or operations, contact your B&L representative or Jillian Blake.