Jacob Shepherd, P.E. – Legislative Liaison/SCS Engineers – email@example.com
September 14, 2023
SWANA Mid-Atlantic Chapter Call with MDE on New Methane Regulations
On August 28, 2023, the Chapter held a call with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to answer questions related to the new landfill methane rule under the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 26.11.42. Prior the call, the Chapter had provided comments received from Chapter members to MDE to review and provide answers to questions to review on the call. However, MDE was unable to provide answers to these questions on the call. In further communication with MDE, the Chapter received written responses to these answers and distributed these to call attendees. Additionally, the Chapter continues to coordinate with MDE for a smaller call with regulatory and compliance staff at MDE to answer key questions related to compliance with the new methane rules. Although this call would not be open to individual members, representatives from the Chapter will be on this planned call and will provide any additional information to the Chapter following the call.
No updates. The Legislative Committee is still monitoring bills related to PFAS, including the Resource Management PFAS Liability Protection Act, which provides an exemption for owners and operators of certain resource management facilities from CERCLA liability for releases of PFAS. This includes solid waste management facilities (as defined in section 1004 of the Solid Waste Disposal Act (42 U.S.C. 6903) and facilities that process compost for sale or distribution to the public. The language explicitly excludes protection for facilities that acted with “gross negligence or willful misconduct” resulting in the release of PFAS.
Draft comprehensive legislation related to PFAS was provided to SWANA and other stakeholders, on which SWANA provided comments. SWANA expects this bill, which will be sponsored by Senators Tom Carper (Delaware) and Shelley Capito (West Virginia), to be introduced this fall.
S.1189 – Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act of 2023 – Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar.
S.1194 – Recycling and Composting Accountability Act – Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Enforcement Priorities Will Now Address Landfill Methane and PFAS
[From Waste Dive] For its 2024-2027 National Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives for 2024- 2027, EPA is now including multiple focus areas pertaining to landfills. This document is used to prioritize EPA and state environmental enforcement efforts. One change with the latest initiatives is
including landfills in the enforcement goal of mitigating climate change, which previously did not include them. Solid waste industry members should expect higher chances of EPA inspections, which have historically been very low for landfills in the Chapter’s region. Multiple landfills in Maryland recently had EPA inspections after a long absence of EPA scrutiny. We can also expect increased flyovers monitoring methane from landfills.
EPA also included landfills in PFAS enforcement goals. As included in previous updates, SWANA has urged EPA to look upstream at manufacturers and users of PFAS rather than landfills, which they term as “passive receivers”.
When the enforcement priorities were last updated in 2019, landfills were only part of goals for hazardous air emission and hazardous waste reduction, so this represents a major shift in EPA enforcement goals.
EPA Proposes to Add CERCLA Designation to 7 PFAS Compounds
EPA is proposing to add designations for 7 PFAS compounds under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). This would designate these compounds as hazardous waste and would attach liability and clean-up responsibility to owners of PFAS-polluted facilities. SWANA and 38 other “passive receivers” – those facilities that do not produce PFAS but accept PFAS containing wastes – submitted comments focusing on allowing Congress to provide receiver exemptions, which is outside of EPA’s authority. EPA has indicated that its working on an enforcement discretion guide that will include the solid waste industry.
EPA Excludes eRINs from Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Proposed Rulemaking
Under proposed rulemaking published in the Federal Register in December 2022, the EPA had proposed to add a new category of renewable identification numbers for renewable electricity (eRINs) under the RFS program. The RFS program requires petroleum for transportation to include a certain percentage of renewable fuel. Under the current RFS program, renewable natural gas (RNG) produced from biogas (such as landfill or digester gas) can be used to satisfy this requirement, which has led to a large increase in these facilities. The eRIN program would have added a new option for using biogas under the RFS program for the production of electricity. In response to the eRIN proposal, companies were considering initiatives to install biogas-fueled generators near landfills for use in data storage or cryptocurrency mining. Under the final rule, EPA did not include eRINs in the RFS update. Therefore, it’s unclear whether this will affect the economics for these initiatives. While EPA did not include eRINs, they did leave the door open to eRINs at a future time.
The 445th legislative session convened on January 11, 2023 and adjourned on April 10, 2023. No updates.
Included in Previous Update – Effective June 12, 2023, MDE published final regulations for methane control and reduction from municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills. The rules will also implement the Emission Guidelines (EG) regulations under the 2016 New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) changes (40 CFR 60 Subpart Cf) pending submittal to EPA and EPA approval. At that point, the regulations will replace the Federal EG Plan that currently applies to Maryland landfills (published under 40 CFR 62 Subpart OOO).
Note that landfills subject to new gas collection and control system (GCCS) requirements must submit a design plan to MDE by June 10, 2023. MDE will review and approve plans, after which a landfill will have up to 30 months to install and operate a GCCS. For landfills with certain emissions within a window, a surface methane monitoring test-out option is available. The rules are unclear for landfills with existing GCCS. However, these landfills should consider submitting a design plan that includes GCCS modifications in order to take advantage of implementation timelines. Utility flares are not allowed except under certain circumstances and MDE approval after January 1, 2025.
Delaware Governor John Carney signed SB51 on August 22, 2023 that bans most food establishments from providing customers with ready-to-eat food or beverages in polystyrene containers. It also bans offering plastic straws unless requested by the customer. Restrictions will take effect on July 1, 2025.
District of Columbia Legislative/News
[From DCist] D.C. officials began implementing a one-year curbside compositing program this month, which includes approximately 9,000 households in the District. Participants will put food scraps into supplied bins for pick-up once per week. In return, participants will be provided with a bag of at least 5 pounds of compost at the end of the program. The program is rolling out to selected participants by Ward. Currently, the District is using private collection companies for the pilot. However, the goal is for DPW to operate the program with in-house trucks and drivers. Food scraps for the pilot will be delivered to the processing facility in Prince George’s County in Maryland to be turned into compost.
The program is part of the District’s zero waste efforts tied to the Sustainable 2.0 plan. By 2032, the District has a goal of 80 percent diversion from landfills and incinerators. According to DPW, only 30 percent of household waste can be diverted under existing District recycling programs. Therefore, composting is important to the District for meeting diversion goals.
– August 14, 2023
How Do Waste Plants Pick Through All Your Unsorted Recyclables? – Marketplace – August 14, 2023
Democrats Call on EPA to Implement Credit Program for Electricity from Biomass by 2024 – Waste Dive – August 15, 2023
Why a Colorado Mattress Recycling Sends Old Mattresses to the Landfill – The Colorado Sun – August 16, 2023
– Waste Advantage – August 29, 2023
Taming the Wild West of Environmental Marketing: A Green Guides History – Waste Dive – September 6, 2023