PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management's Office of Waste Management is seeking feedback from the public on proposed revisions to state regulations regarding composting facilities. The draft revisions to Solid Waste Regulation Number 8 (Composting Facilities) were made in response to recent legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Lincoln D. Chafee regarding food residuals recycling. They include changes to the existing sections related to small and medium-scale composting operations and new standards for anaerobic digesters, which are used to decompose organic material.
"These business-friendly changes will simplify and streamline the approval process for smaller composting operations and create a transparent pathway for new businesses interested in setting up anaerobic digestion facilities in Rhode Island," said Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit.
The proposed revisions to the regulations include a new category for small and medium-scale composting operations that will be able to compost leaf, yard and putrescible (food scraps) waste at their location. This new category was developed to encourage increased composting in neighborhoods and community gardens, and the establishment of small composting businesses. Director Coit noted that DEM staff worked closely with the RI Food Policy Council regarding the revisions to the small and medium-scale composting operations, and thanked the Council for its collaborative efforts to encourage increased composting of wastes.
Under the proposed revisions to the regulations, small-scale composting operations will be allowed to have up to 25 cubic yards of material on the property at any given time and will not be required to register with the Department.
Medium-scale composting operations will be allowed to have between 25 and 75 cubic yards of material on the property at any given time and will be required to register with the Department on a simplified form that will be provided. The requirements for medium-scale composting operations have been relaxed in comparison to existing composting requirements.
Also as a result of the new legislation related to food residuals recycling, several new businesses have met with DEM regarding the establishment of anaerobic digestion facilities in Rhode Island. The Department has developed the new anaerobic digestion facility requirements in Solid Waste Regulation Number 8 to address these pending facilities and create a process for their approval.
DEM encourages feedback and suggestions from interested parties and businesses on the proposed regulatory revisions. They are available on the DEM website at www.dem.ri.gov/programs/benviron/waste/pdf/swreg8draft.pdf.
Recommendations and comments will be accepted until 4:00 pm on Monday, January 12, 2015 and should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Laurie Grandchamp, P.E., supervising engineer, DEM – Office of Waste Management, 235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908.
After January 12th, the Department will review the recommendations and comments and make any additional changes to the Regulation, as appropriate. It is expected that the revised Solid Waste Regulation Number 8 will be released for formal public comment in February.