Archive for July, 2010
Know The Difference (Other than the Obvious) Between A Permitted and Non-permitted Facility?
A disposal site will either be a permitted facility or it will NOT. There’s really no in-between and knowing the difference is critical when disposing and/or recycling construction or demolition related waste. A Permitted facility is one that has obtained ‘official’ permission from the jurisdictional authority from the territory that the facility operates. This usually will be the State environmental office that the facility resides in; however other relevant permits can be provided by the local authority as well. Permitting requirements vary from state to state and differ greatly from one waste type to another. For purposes here, we will talk only about construction and demolition (C&D), wood or other related waste disposal.
Is a permit required?
So now that you hopefully have a general understanding of what a permitted facility is, now let’s look at why this should be the first question you ask before choosing to use a facility for the disposal of any potential waste or recovered product. Keep in mind that just because it has been separated from the waste stream a product’s legal disposal may very well require it to go to a “permitted” facility. North Carolina for example regulates wood waste. Though it may be a truck load of pallets or a dumpster full of 2×4’s (unless you are delivering it to the habitat restore or a pallet recycler for reuse) it will have to go to a permitted facility. This can be a landfill, transfer facility or a wood waste grinding / recycling operation. Each waste type will usually fall into its own unique category with special requirements for collection, recycling and disposal. It should be noted that the disposal of some waste may not require a permit at all while others have minor restrictions and others such as mixed C&D requires strict permitting.
Note: Before you dispose of any waste, haul or plan to recycle or receive waste, learn the law! If you are not familiar with the state laws, federal facility regulations or local ordinances in your working area, hiring a reputable waste management company to guide you will prove invaluable. It is almost a must if you are planning to recycle your waste.
Can I Really Be Prosecuted?
As mentioned each state will have its own unique requirements for waste management and it is important to not break the law which could result in criminal prosecution, fines etc. You should never assume that the hauler is relieving you of the legal responsibility! For example – In North Carolina the law requires that the “generator” of the waste or the “financially responsible party” to be liable for proper disposal. This creates a flow-down enforcement policy which catches most by surprise. On your typical construction project, any liability of enforcement will typically be assessed against the owner of the property or project, then the contractor, then the hauler then the facility receiving the waste.
It is very important to understand the waste that you are handling and the legal requirements associated with any planned recycling and/or proper landfill disposal. Illegal facilities crop up and can exist for an indefinite time before they are closed by state enforcement. Don’t assume that just because your hauler says he/she has permission to dump or that he has been taking the waste to a particular dump site for a long time that it is a legitimate disposal site. North Carolina posts all of its permitted facilities on the state’s environmental website for easy access. Most if not all state environmental agencies should be able to provide you with the list of permitted facilities for your work area by waste type. Or simple ask your waste management company, hauler or the disposal site to provide proof of permitting for the planned disposal / recycling site.
Again note that each facility is unique in its operational permitting requirements. Not all facilities require permitting. Again in North Carolina, facilities such as card board recyclers, metal scrap yards or concrete waste processors do not require a state waste permitting. However, most local communities will have zoning requirements or business licenses. As an example of how complicated it can be…a company can sell the mulch processed by a wood waste recycler or can receive clean source processed chips, but it cannot take in clean wood such as 2×4’s or brush to grind to produce the mulch it sells unless it obtains a permit! The permitting will regulate the types of waste that can be received, how the waste is handled, where the waste originated from, any recycling that occurs or what happens to that recovered product, and ultimately how all that cannot or is not recycled is disposed.