In Brief / en bref....

  • Rick Stevens retired from U. S. EPA as of August 31, 2017.  He was a leader in the Agency's biosolids program in recent years.  As noted by Greg Kester of CASA, "Rick has served in the Office of Science and Technology since he replaced Al Rubin in 2005. Rick has led the Agency's biosolids biennial reviews, its risk assessment models, issued decisions regarding pathogen equivalency, and has been the overseer of the Part 503 biosolids regulations. He has been a strong advocate for the land application of biosolids based on the scientific evidence. He has been a valued colleague who will be sorely missed. We do however wish him the absolute best in his well-deserved retirement...!  Liz Resek has stepped into the biosolids program to replace Rick. She is on a four month detail, which may made permanent, by mutual agreement. Recently, Ms. Resek worked for the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery (RCRA).
  • New York DEC has finalized its new Part 360 solid waste (materials management) regulations.  A few changes have been made related to biosolids management and land application, including, but not limited to:

    o   removal of land application restrictions based on soil types,

    o   the addition of a definition for “papermill residuals” and related attention to the land application of those residuals,

    o   a change of the minimum pH of soils at land application sites to 6.0,

    o   integration of the latest scientific understanding of phosphorus in biosolids (allowing that 30% of P is available), and

    o   improved allowance for field stacking of residuals prior to land application.

    While some commenters on the draft rule requested more stringent regulation, including additional setbacks and testing. (e.g. for organic compounds) and maintaining cumulative loading limits, NEBRA was pleased to see that NY DEC held fast to current scientific consensus that does not support the need for additional restrictions and testing – and most other jurisdictions do not impose them.  The NY DEC Materials Management division has a mandate, driven by the policies of several administrations going back years, to advance the recycling of biosolids and other organic residuals, and any additional restrictions for which there is no public health or environmental benefit only serves to reduce recycling of these materials.

  • Biosolids reviewed:  Pennsylvania’s Legislature – in a resolution adopted in 2016 – required a formal review of the state’s biosolids management.  That review was completed in June, 2017.  It found that Pennsylvania’s biosolids regulations are similarly protective in comparison to the regulations in neighboring states and that more PA solids are landfilled (46%) than land applied (38%).  The report raised concerns about malodors and the limited number of inspections on the part of the PA Department of Environmental Protection and recommended that the Department require and enforce more formal odor control plans.  Read the report.

  • James Ehlers is running for Governor of Vermont.  Mr. Ehlers is Executive Director of Lake Champlain International and a sometimes critic of biosolids and septage recycling.  He registered with the Vermont Secretary of State as a Democratic candidate for Governor in the 2018 election.  Details...
  • The District of Columbia was the first jurisdiction in the U. S. to regulate disposable wipes and other items that are too often inappropriately disposed of in toilets. But, this summer, the 2018 appropriations bill in the U. S. Congress included riders that would annul the DC legislation.  NACWA and others are speaking out in support of D.C.s proactive regulation, emphasizing that nonwoven disposable products are damaging pumps and other parts of wastewater treatment systems and causing problems and expense.  According to NACWA, the D. C. law "requires the District's Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) to issue rules, in consultation with NACWA Member Agency DC Water, to establish "flushability" standards for flushable wipes and labeling requirements for non-flushable wipes.   Read the D. C. law....