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Beneficial Reuse of Solid Waste

Solid wastes may be reused without obtaining a written permit in accordance with 401 KAR 47:150, Section 1.  Section 1 provides a list of solid waste management practices that are allowed as a permit-by-rule (no permit application or written-authorization required).  To be allowed as a permit-by-rule, the management practice must not violate the Environmental Performance Standards (401 KAR 47:030) or “present a threat of imminent hazard to human health or substantial environmental impact.”

Examples of activities allowed under the permit-by-rule provision for beneficial reuse include: grinding clean wood waste to make and distribute mulch, use of various industrial byproducts as substitute ingredients in manufacturing, distillers grains fed to livestock, and using brick, block and concrete rubble as fill material.

Staff at the regional offices of the Division of Waste Management may provide assistance in determining if a particular activity is likely to meet regulatory requirements. In particular, when inert solid waste is used for structural fill, the property owner must have an intended use for the area where fill is placed, to distinguish the placement of that material as a “beneficial reuse”, and not “open dumping”, a violation of law under KRS 224.40-100.

It is often the case that the solid waste generator or the person beneficially reusing a waste material asks for written approval from the Division.  If written approval is desired, the Division has an application form, DEP 7098 “Application for a Permit-by-Rule for Beneficial Reuse of Solid Waste”, which may be submitted by the waste generator, the end-user, or a third party manager or broker. It is not required that the application be submitted by the waste generator, and the generator is not required to be the “permittee”, however, the waste generator may be held liable to conduct remedial measures if the solid waste being beneficially reused causes a release of a reportable quantity of a pollutant or contaminant in accordance with the Environmental Emergency provisions of KRS 224.1-400.

Beneficial Reuse of Special Waste

With the exception of coal combustion residuals (fly ash, bottom ash, and scrubber sludge), any beneficial reuse of special wastes requires a permit. The application process is described in 401 KAR 45:070, Special Waste Registered Permit-by-Rule, and the applicant must submit form DEP 7059F “Registered Permit-by-Rule for Beneficial Reuse”.

Under the definition of “beneficial reuse” in 401 KAR 45:010, land application of sewage sludge is excluded. It must instead must be permitted through another type of permit as provided in 401 KAR 45:070 or 45:100. The most common use of the Beneficial Reuse RPBR is for water treatment residuals as structural fill or as a soil amendment.

As with solid waste, special wastes must be used in a manner that does not violate the Environmental Performance Standards (401 KAR 30:031) but otherwise there is little regulatory definition of what constitutes beneficial reuse (except that sewage sludge is specifically excluded). It is recommended that if you are considering beneficial reuse of a special waste, you should contact the regional office or the Solid Waste Branch before submitting an application.

Coal Combustion Residuals

“Coal combustion by-products” (fly ash, bottom ash and scrubber sludge) may be beneficially reused as a permit-by-rule under 401 KAR 45:060, Section 1 (7). As a permit-by-rule, no written authorization is required, however, the generator of coal combustion by-products that are beneficially reused is required to submit an annual report to the Cabinet providing information about the previous year’s beneficial reuse activities.

The special waste regulations apply only to “utility” ash, and do not apply to coal ash from industrial boilers, which is a solid waste. Boiler ash that is not utility ash would be subject to the same requirement described above for beneficial reuse of solid waste.

Beneficial reuse application forms may be found on the Solid Waste Branch Forms Page.

If you have questions regarding beneficial reuse, please contact Robin Green.

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