Digging Into DEC’s Proposed Part 360 Regulations: Part III – Part 361 Material Recovery Facilities

This is the third post in our series looking at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s proposed revision and reorganization of Part 360. Today’s post will look at the proposed Part 361 on Material Recovery Facilities, or what are more commonly known as recycling facilities. This Part has eight subsections, each addressing a different type of recycling facility as categorized by the material handled. For example, there are subsections for facilities that handle waste tires, wood debris, facilities that engage in composting, and so forth. 

Section 361.1, Recyclables Handling and Recovery Facilities, addresses facilities that handle “source separated, non-putrescible recyclables.” These are what people commonly consider “traditional” recyclables like glass, plastic, newspapers, etc., and “source separated,” as opposed to “single stream,” simply means that they are separated by type when collected.  The regulations for such facilities are relatively light, placing limits on the duration of storage, requiring materials delivered to or leaving the facility be weighed and recorded, and that facilities either register or be permitted based on their scope of operation.

Section 361.2, Land Application and Associated Storage Facilities, governs septage, food processing waste, and other organic waste to be used for land application, i.e. put into the soil to improve quality or provide plant nutrients. In short, this subsection addresses waste directly used as fertilizer for agricultural purposes. This section is also comparatively dense, requiring highly technical analyses of the soil and waste used, including measurements of the amount and/or ratio of organic and inorganic nitrogen, ammonia, nitrate, etc. being applied, the rate of application, pH levels in the soil, etc. There are also health and safety provisions relating to the crops grown and precautions to ensure crops or animals destined for human consumption do not come into contact with waste material.

Section 361.3 addresses Composting and Other Organics Processing Facilities. Other than using a similar yet broader set of materials than Section 361.2, the main difference is that the material is used to create a distinct, “mature product for use as a source of nutrients, animal feed, organic matter, liming value, or other essential constituent for a soil or to help sustain plant growth,” rather than to be applied directly to the soil. This section also has highly technical rules to stop groundwater contamination by leachate and governing the heat-drying of waste materials (for an example, view the Tables at the end of the section).

The remaining sections of Part 361 will be covered in the next post. A PDF of the full proposed Part 361 – Material Recovery Facilities regulations can be found here: http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/materials_minerals_pdf/pt361.pdf

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