The Ohio EPA recently released Interested Party versions of some solid waste rules as part of the required five-year rule review process. The proposed rule updates include that of “Rule 13”, which is currently Rule 3745-27-13 of the solid waste rules. The Ohio EPA has also proposed changes to several of the municipal solid waste rules. Most of those changes are minor, but there are substantial changes to Rule 3745-27-08, “Sanitary Landfill Facility Construction”, as well as a few key changes to a few other rules.
“Rule 13” Changes
At the beginning of July, the Ohio EPA (Agency) released draft changes to the rules regarding filling, grading, excavating, building, drilling or mining on property where a solid or hazardous waste landfill has been operated. In essence, Rule 13 requires notification to and approval by the Agency of any work that would breach or compromise the integrity of the landfill cap prior to commencement of the work. The current rule requires the submittal of an application to the Agency in effect notifying them of upcoming work; however, there are differing requirements for different classes of landfills and upcoming work, and it is not always clear which set of requirements apply to a given landfill. An interesting aside is that Rule 13 applies to all landfills in Ohio, historic or operating, licensed or unlicensed, and whether solid or hazardous waste was disposed at the site. Rule 13, however, does not apply to sites of indiscriminate roadside dumping or littering.
A major change in the proposed rule is that it will be reorganized under the multi-program rules as its own chapter: Chapter 3745-513 of the OAC. The Agency’s fact sheet regarding the changes to Rule 13 can be found here. The draft rules define the differences between modern and historic facilities, however most of the requirements listed are the same. There are a few additional requirements for modern facilities. Proposed rule 3745-513-02 “Definitions” defines the terms “historic” and “modern,” which were not used in the current rule. The differences are based on dates that rules were originally promulgated. For example, an historic solid waste landfill ceased waste acceptance prior to July 29, 1976, whereas a modern solid waste landfill accepted waste after July 29, 1976. In addition, the draft amendments include a new rule requiring that the plans require the seal of a professional engineer if the “scope of the chapter 513 activities proposed in the application constitutes the practice of engineering pursuant to Chapter 4733. of the Revised Code.”
The proposed rules have been written so that the requirements for the application, implementation, and reporting are more direct and clearer than in the current rule, so the uncertainty determining what needs to be included in the Rule 13 application should be reduced.
The rule-making process regarding Rule 13 started with an “Early Stakeholder” outreach in May 2017 when the Agency requested comments on the initial conceptual changes to the rule. At that time, the Agency accepted comments through July 2017. For this set of proposed rules, the Agency accepted comments on the draft rules through July 3, 2019. The agency will review the rules and make any necessary changes prior to filing the proposed rules with the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR), the Legislative Service Commission, and the Secretary of State. When the draft rules are posted, there will be another opportunity to make comments on the rules. As such, the regulated community has had/will have ample opportunity to participate in this rule-making process.
Municipal Solid Waste Landfill Rule Update
As part of the Agency’s requirement to review their rules every five years, the Agency has proposed changes to several of the currently effective municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill rules. These include the following:
Most of the changes are minor updates, however, in Rule 3745-27-05 there is a new reference to technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material (TENORM); and there are significant proposed changes to Rule 3745-27-08. The proposed changes included in Rule 08 include a reduction of the stability factor from 1.5 to 1.3; addressing piping failures because of seepage forces and settling; changes in thickness of the recompacted soil liner from five to three feet; added standards for flexible membrane liners; added design specifications for leachate ponds; and added specifications for gas extraction well design; amongst others.
On July 8, 2019, the Ohio EPA held an informational webinar to discuss the changes to the MSW landfill rules. It was a very good presentation, and it was made clear that the Agency would like to receive comments regarding the proposed changes. The presentation slides will be posted on the Interested Party tab of the Division of Materials and Waste Management’s rule website.
The Agency’s fact sheet on the MSW landfill rule changes discusses the changes to each of the rules. The text of the proposed MSW landfill rule changes can be obtained at the Agency’s interested party release website. Comments on the proposed changes to the MSW landfill rules are being accepted through July 31, 2019.
Published in the July 2019 Cox-Colvin & Associates Newsletter: Focus on the Environment
Steve Williamson is a Senior Scientist with Cox-Colvin & Associates, Inc. He holds a BS degree in Environmental Health and an MS degree in Hydrogeology from Wright State University. Mr. Williamson has over 30 years' experience working on brownfields, solid and hazardous waste, and groundwater contamination projects in Ohio and the Midwest.