Landau Associates News

Ecology to Accept Comments on the 2nd Preliminary Draft Solid Waste Handling Rule through February 8, 2017

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The Washington State Department of Ecology is in the process of updating the “350” Rule for managing solid waste (Chapter 173-350 of the Washington Administration Code)—the most significant revisions since the rule was adopted in 2003.

WHAT’S NEW IN THE 2ND PRELIMINARY DRAFT RULE FOR EARTHWORK PROJECTS?

The proposed rule introduces the new classification of “impacted soil” and proposes regulation of soil with concentrations below the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) unrestricted access cleanup levels and above natural background levels (i.e., “impacted soil”). “Impacted soil” will include general fill soil used for construction and development. The rule revision is essentially an anti-degradation regulation that requires soil quality of both the import soil and the soil at the receiving site be documented to demonstrate that import soil will not degrade the fill site. If implemented as currently drafted, these new regulations would:

  • Establish a new, broad category of environmental liability and regulatory requirements for any soil or sediment determined to be “impacted” that is used as fill on another property.
  • Define soil screening levels (SSLs) for over 200 parameters and five categories of soil and sediment SSLs.
  • Introduce required due diligence process and potentially extensive testing for soil/sediment at both source and receiving sites. The rule revision treats all soil as impacted until demonstrated clean by due diligence.
  • Limits the stockpiling of impacted soil and sediment to less than 90 days without extensive engineering, permitting and management requirements.
  • Not allow the use of “impacted soil/sediment” fill at properties filled with impacted soil prior to the effective date of the regulation. [This restriction would likely exclude many previously filled urban properties from being used as receiving sites for impacted soil.]
  • Require a notice be placed on the deed if more than 2,000 cubic yards of impacted soil is placed on a property.
  • Greatly limit the options to manage excess impacted soil or sediment not used as fill at another site.
  • Likely to result in project delays, if there is any need for regulatory consultation to confirm compliance, because no additional funding proposed to support implementation (Ecology expects regulations to be self-implementing).
  • Establish significant penalties for non-compliance and introduce environmental liabilities for parties including owners, developers, engineers, and contractors.
  • Potentially result in the proposed WAC 173-350 screening levels becoming an Applicable or Relevant and Appropriate Requirement (ARAR) under the WAC 173-340 MTCA regulations.

IMPORTANT DATES

Ecology will accept comments on the second preliminary draft rule through February 8, 2017. Comments can be e-mailed to w2rrulemaking@ecy.wa.gov.

A formal proposed rule is scheduled for release for public comment in spring 2017. Ecology anticipates that the new 350 Rule will be adopted in the late summer-autumn 2017.

LEARN MORE

If you have questions you would like answered, would like to discuss how the proposed rule revisions could affect your properties or projects, or would like assistance in commenting during the rule revision process, please contact us.

Larry Beard, PE, LHG, Principal   
(425) 329-0307

Brian Butler, LHG, LEG, Principal
(425) 329-0260

 

 

 

The proposed new rule text and supporting documents are available for review at Ecology’s website: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/swfa/rules/wac173350/1308ov.html/1308docs.html