California Association of Sanitation Agencies
CalRecycle Position of Regulating Hauled in Waste at POTWs and Definition of Compost
The California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB now CalRecycle) published a guidance document in September 2009 titled “How Anaerobic Digestion Fits Current Board Regulatory Structure”. This was based in large part on an earlier guidance document from December 2007 entitled “How Conversion Technologies Fit Current Board Regulatory Structure”. The 2009 document defines compost by temperature rather than process and includes anaerobic digesters operating in the thermophilic temperature range (>50 degrees C) as compost facilities. Moreover, the guidance document opines that anaerobic digesters (1) operating at lower temperatures, as most POTW digesters do and (2) that receive any hauled in waste that would normally be conveyed through the sewerage system (ie, Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) or food waste) may, at the discretion of the Local Enforcement Authority (LEA), need to obtain a solid waste Transfer Station/Process Facility (TSPF) permit. CASA has been in direct communication with CalRecycle since the document’s publication to educate CalRecycle about the current regulatory scheme for POTWs and to persuade CalRecycle to reconsider these positions. POTWs are already effectively regulated in all respects by permits issued by the Regional Water Quality Control Boards, local air districts, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The patchquilt regulatory landscape that would result would create a disincentive for POTWs to receive this waste even though the waste greatly enhances renewable energy production, reduces solids production, and provides an excellent repository for this organic waste stream. CASA continues to work with the State Water Board to craft language to be included in a permit application or a permit application addendum describing this activity. Letters have been sent to, and responses received from, then CIWMB Director Margo Reid Brown, and Division branch chief Mark de Bie. Though no resolution has yet been reached, the dialogue continues.