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North Carolina Water Quality Permitting for Composters July 11, 2012 conference call Your mission: The Maryland Composting Workgroup is charged to recommend.

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Presentation on theme: "North Carolina Water Quality Permitting for Composters July 11, 2012 conference call Your mission: The Maryland Composting Workgroup is charged to recommend."— Presentation transcript:

1 North Carolina Water Quality Permitting for Composters July 11, 2012 conference call Your mission: The Maryland Composting Workgroup is charged to recommend statute, rule, or policy revisions to encourage the development of composting. My mission today: Provide an overview of North Carolina’s experiences in revising our water quality permitting program for the composting industry. Remaining slides: What are we NOT talking about? What’s the potential water quality problem? Our public process: COSAG Technical and regulatory principles. Outcomes. Maryland Conference Call, July 2012

2 What are we NOT talking about? Mulch-only sites Storm debris-only sites On-farm composting Animal mortality composting Back-yard composting Retail outlets for compost DOT use of compost on cut and fill slopes Home owner use of compost Small Type 1 yard waste facilities (2 acres, 6000cy/q) SWANA, April 2011

3 What’s the potential water quality problem? Selected pollutant concentrations in site runoff from various composting sites : North Carolina Composting Council, On-Farm Composting, October 2010 SWANA, April 2011 Pollutant measure Reported range for compost sites Raw sewage range Stormwater permit benchmark COD mg/L110 – 400 mg/L120 mg/L TSS2 – 5000 mg/L100 – 350 mg/L100 mg/L Fecal coliform bacteria ,000,000 Count/100 ml 1,000, ,000, Count/100 ml Ammonia0.1 – 1600 mg/L12 – 50 mg/L5.6/7.2 mg/L (Trout/non-trout) Phosphorus0.7 – 250 mg/L4 – 15 mg/L2 mg/L

4 Our public process: The COSAG December 2009 – September 2010 Session Law , signed by Gov. Perdue 7/2009. A steering committee self-formed to assist NCDENR. Steering committee interviewed COSAG members for an understanding of the issues, and desired endpoints. Steering committee hired a paid facilitator to manage the process. Eight public COSAG meetings; probably twice that many steering committee meetings; several Monitoring committee meetings. 20 to 30 attendees at every COSAG meeting. The COSAG input to DENR took the form of 20 proposals as to the implementation of revised water quality permitting procedures. Unanimous approval of the proposals was obtained in the working meetings. DENR’s vote was in every case part of the unanimous consent. SWANA, April 2011

5 Technical and regulatory principles Try to revise our water quality program without new law or rules. Stormwater vs. wastewater: NPDES federal definitions. Acknowledge that existing facilities may have difficulties in compliance that new facilities will not. Municipal operations vs. private sector operations. Yard waste facilities vs. other types of composters. Consider the financial impact on selected subsets of the industry. Maryland Conference Call, July 2012

6 Outcomes Unclear if we have accomplished revisions to the water quality permitting of composters without new legislation. As recommended by the COSAG, a new combined wastewater and stormwater permit is available. As recommended by the COSAG, our program allows existing facilities an extended time for compliance, but requires new facilities to be compliant on day one. As recommended by the COSAG, DWQ has changed our implementation of state regulations on non-discharge systems at compost facilities. As recommended by the COSAG, ~120 small Type 1 yard waste facilities are excused from DWQ regulation for the first permit cycle, and perhaps beyond. Permit applications are rolling in, more or less in accordance with the publicized due date of July 1, Maryland Conference Call, July 2012

7 Who can help me? Contact DWQ Stormwater Permitting Unit in Raleigh. (Ken Pickle: (919) Contact DWM Solid Waste Composting and Land Application Branch in Raleigh. (Michael Scott: (919) ) Check the DWQ and DWM websites. Check the COSAG website at: END SWANA, April 2011

8 DWQ Report #3 to the Compost Operation Stakeholder Advisory Group Compost runoff characterization data February 17, 2010

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16 Interim period water permitting DWQ must issue interim permit extensions to: Composters applying for renewal of their DWQ permit; provided that there have been no significant changes to the DWM permitted quantities, feedstocks, and composting methods. No instances so far since July Still none. DWQ must establish appropriate permit coverage on a case-by- case basis for: Composters renewing DWM permits, but without any DWQ water quality permit. DWQ has advised the majority of sites to wait for this process to conclude. DWQ must address new water quality permit applications on a case-by-case basis for: Composters applying for the first time to DWM and DWQ. No applications for water permits received so far. Still none. COSAG, December 2009/September 2010; SWANA, April 2011

17 Part I - Overview of SL Directs NCDENR to revise our water quality permitting procedures for the composting industry. Promised by DWQ and outlined by stakeholder proposals. A key item is the General Permit, NCG Directs NCDENR to convene this stakeholders group for the specific purpose of providing input and assistance to NCDENR in this task. Done. COSAG was unanimous on 20 directives to NCDENR. Specifies a schedule for NCDENR to accomplish these main directives, and other detailed directives in the law. On schedule, so far. Mostly. COSAG, December 2009/September 2010; SWANA, April 2011

18 Other Requirements in SL NCDENR must establish standard stormwater and wastewater treatment and volume reduction practices. DWQ promised. In Progress. Partial. NCDENR must clarify the distinction between wastewater and stormwater. Done. NCDENR must consider scientifically valid information from North Carolina sites and sites in other states. Done. NCDENR must establish materials thresholds above which water quality permitting is required. Done for small yard waste facilities. NCDENR must consider whether low-risk subsets of the industry are candidates for reduced or expedited permitting procedures. Done; small yard waste facilities; General Permit coverage promised. NCDENR must consider the economic impact of regulatory decisions. Done in the COSAG generally; done wrt hydrogeological studies. Delayed implementation on existing sites until July, NCDENR must consider the size of an operation, the feedstocks, the composting method, the quantity and quality of discharges, the water quality of the receiving waters, and operating and maintenance requirements for treatment methods. Done specifically for most of the listed considerations; maintenance requirements to be addressed in DWQ treatment measures fact sheets. COSAG, December 2009/September 2010; SWANA, April 2011

19 Remaining NCDENR Deliverables Progress Report to the Environmental Review Commission of the NC Legislature. Not yet requested. Anticipate that the request will come. Summary report of the COSAG process and process outcomes. This will be the ‘record document’ of our work together. In progress. Edits due 4/22/2011. DWQ/DWM permitting process flow diagram. 80% partial. DWQ General Permit for stormwater and wastewater discharges. Out for comments now. Anticipated available by July 1, DWQ – APS Director’s Policy on the additional flexibility for land application without a hydrogeological study. DWQ committed. In progress. DWQ water quality treatment BMP fact sheets for ready reference by composters and consultants. Similarly for volume control measures. 80% partial. Jan 1, 2011 and Jan 1, 2012 notification letters to DWM and DWQ composting permittees on the requirement to submit water quality control permit applications by July 1, First letter out March Dissemination to composters that ‘finished’ compost will be determined by a Solvita, or like determination. Not yet universally communicated. Contained in the General Permit. NCDENR participation in two continuing committees: a sort of ‘Continuity Committee’, and a ‘Monitoring Data Review Committee.’ Partial. Final revisions to the documents posted on the DWM portal – specifically the DWQ Report #1 and DWQ Report #3, plus any others. Not yet accomplished. COSAG, September 2010; SWANA, April 2011

20 Potential Problems from Process Water at Composting Facilities Nitrogen (nitrate/nitrite) Total Phosphorus Soluble Salts Biological Oxygen Demand-(BOD) Amt. of O 2 req’d by bacteria to decompose organic matter in water Chemical Oxygen Demand-(COD) Total amount of O 2 needed to completely oxidize organics Total Suspended Solids-(TSS) Pathogens (fecal coliform & salmonella) Heavy Metals ( Cu, Pb & Zn) Oils and Grease pH COSAG slide from NC Chapter US Composting Council; SWANA, April 2011

21 Part V – COSAG Work Products – page 1 of 6 The early first product was the unanimous agreement in principle to revise the water quality permitting program via administrative, i.e. staff, actions rather than via new rules or new legislation, if at all possible. Twenty ‘proposals’ that received unanimous approval in the final wording form. I’ve grouped them in the slides that follow by related and similar ideas. Remember, according to the Session Law, the intent of the stakeholder group, COSAG, was to provide input to NCDENR as to how we should implement our revised water quality permitting program. SWANA, April 2011

22 Part V – COSAG Work Products – page 2 of 6 Permit application timing recommendations to NCDENR Proposal #1: New facilities should apply for DWQ and DWM permits essentially concurrently. Proposal #2: Existing composting facilities should apply for the appropriate DWQ permit not later than July 2012, regardless of the status of DWM permit renewal. General Permit coverage recommendations to NCDENR Proposals #12 and #12a: Small yard waste facilities should be excused from permitting, except on a substantiated complaint basis. Proposals #10 and #18: Large yard waste facilities, Type 2 facilities, and small Type 3 facilities should be eligible for coverage under the General Permit. Individual permit coverage recommendations to NCDENR Proposal #9: Large Type 3 (manures) and Type 4 (sludges) and the DWQ Residuals Distribution facilities (WWTP sludges) should be required to obtain individual permits. SWANA, April 2011

23 Part V – COSAG Work Products – page 3 of 6 Clarifications on permit coverage recommendations Proposal #11: Clarification: Small Type 2 and small Type 3 facilities may already qualify, and should be eligible for the No Exposure Exclusion from Permitting. Many are fully enclosed. Proposal #19: Clarification: Small Type 2 and small Type 3 facilities without any discharges at all should not be subject the federal NPDES permitting program, neither as to any requirement to have a permit, nor as to apply for the No Exposure Exclusion from Permitting. SWANA, April 2011

24 Part V – COSAG Work Products - page 4 of 6 Monitoring recommendations to NCDENR Proposal #13: Clarification: Small yard waste facilities should be excused from monitoring, as a consequence of being excused from permitting. Proposal #8: Stormwater monitoring recommendations  Quarterly monitoring is the base-line recommendation. DWQ should implement a step-down provision to reduce the monitoring frequency upon four consecutive sample results within the stormwater benchmarks.  Parameters: TSS, COD, fecal coliform, TN, TP, Cu, Pb, Zn, pH, total rainfall.  DWQ should revise the toxic metals benchmarks when they become available from the current Triennial Review process with EPA.  DWQ will collect and analyze data periodically and should share the data with the COSAG Monitoring Committee in its continuation form. SWANA, April 2011

25 Part V – COSAG Work Products – page 5 of 6 Key regulatory interpretations and definitions recommendations Proposal #5a: DWQ should interpret existing rules to allow the land disposal of process wastewater under the less stringent residuals disposal rules. Also, although only alluded to in Proposals #5a and #16, DWQ and DWM should formalize an inter-agency agreement to allow on-site disposal of process wastewater under only the DWM permit. Proposal #6: DWM and DWQ should define a new term, ‘finished compost’, to allow the discharges from that material to be permitted as a stormwater instead of as a wastewater. This relaxation to be based on continuing reduced potential to pollute. Proposal #7: DWQ should adopt the following nomenclature for waters generated at a compost site:  a ‘stormwater discharge’ is water that has not contacted materials while they are in process, or that has contacted finished product only;  a ‘process wastewater discharge’ is water that has contacted materials in the process;  waters that do not leave the site are ‘process waters’, provided there is no groundwater impact. SWANA, April 2011

26 Part V – COSAG Work Products – page 6 of 6 Other recommendations to NCDENR Proposal #3: NCDENR should prepare flow charts of the permitting process. Proposal #4: Clarification: DWQ should clarify that wastewaters may be discharged to a POTW, or treated on site before discharge to surface waters. Proposal #14: DWQ should develop a list of ‘approved’ BMPs for treatment. Proposal #15: DWQ should develop recommendations for volume reduction practices. Proposal #16: DWQ and DWM should clarify that enforcement for unpermitted discharges resulting from a rainfall event in excess of the 25-year, 24-hour storm will be based on whether the facility was designed and operated in accordance with pre-existing DWM and DWQ design requirements as to freeboard, proper operation, and design basis. This is consistent with current NCDENR practice. Proposal #17: DWM and DWQ should participate in and support an effort led by the NC Chapter of the US Compost Council, SWANA, and others, to pursue certification, or like licensing of compost facility operators. SWANA, April 2011

27 Part VI – The General Permit Out for public comment now. Public comment period ends May 18, Your organization has commented on it. Remember, the General Permit is available to Large Type 1 yard waste facilities, Type 2 facilities, and small Type 3 facilities. Existing facilities must apply by July This permit is for surface water discharges only. Not spray fields, not pump and haul. You must control pollutants below two trigger values called ‘benchmarks’ for stormwater discharges, and called ‘permit limits’ for wastewater discharges. You must have a written site stormwater management plan. You must report your sampling results to DWQ.

28 Part VII – Questions and contacts ?

29 Technical and regulatory principles 1.

30 Part VII – Questions and contacts

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33 North Carolina Water Quality Permitting for Composters ?


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