WSR 19-24-091
[Filed December 3, 2019, 2:39 p.m.]
Notice of Preliminary Determination to Develop New Biosolids General Permit
The department of ecology requests comments on whether a general permit is appropriate to regulate the final use or disposal of biosolids in Washington state.
The department of ecology (ecology) intends to develop and issue a new statewide general permit for biosolids management. The current biosolids general permit expires on September 4, 2020. It will continue to be in effect and enforceable beyond this date for facilities that properly notify the department of their intent to seek coverage under the new permit. The new biosolids general permit will apply to public and private entities that treat, store, transfer, apply, or dispose of biosolids in the state. This permit is the primary regulatory mechanism for approving the final use or disposal of biosolids in the state.
In addition to revising requirements in the general permit, ecology plans to reorganize the permit to support a more efficient permitting process. The new general permit will be divided into three sections that will group facilities by similar operations. This new approach will allow for expedited issuance of permits for facilities with minimal permit needs, freeing up ecology resources to dedicate time to facilities with more complex permit requirements.
Ecology will use the standards for biosolids management in chapter 173-308 WAC and accepted best management practices to assure that conditions in the biosolids general permit protect human health and the environment.
Ecology issued general permits for biosolids management in 1997, 2005, 2010, and 2015. The department continues to believe a general permit is appropriate because all applicable facilities are subject to regulation under the same set of rules, and similar management practices apply to all facilities engaged in similar activities under the rules. Ecology does not believe individual permits are necessary for the following reasons:
Ecology retains the right to condition approval of coverage under the general permit in any case where additional or more stringent requirements may be necessary to ensure protection of public health and the environment.
The general permit process preserves public opportunity for hearings and/or to comment on both the draft general permit, and on individual requests for approval of coverage for facilities that propose to apply biosolids to the land or distribute them to the public.
Ecology has not identified any reduction in regulatory burden or costs that might be conferred by issuing individual permits.
Ecology has identified significant efficiencies in the general permit process and with the envisioned structure and approach to issuing the new general permit. Achieving those efficiencies is a key goal for the program.
Finally, ecology retains the right to require an individual permit when the practices of an applicant may not be reasonably addressed within the construct of the general permit.
If you believe biosolids cannot be properly managed under a general permit, please explain your concern and how an individual permit would result in better protections for public health and the environment, or be more efficient, less burdensome, or less costly.
Please send your response, comments, questions, or requests to Emily Kijowski, Department of Ecology, Solid Waste Management, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600,
Comments must be received at the department of ecology or postmarked no later than January 10, 2020.