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Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

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Solid Waste

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Instructions: Permit Application for Composting Facilities and Anaerobic Digesters

Introduction

Oregon Revised Statute 459 requires that solid waste disposal sites apply to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for a Solid Waste Disposal Permit prior to starting operation. For composting facilities (includes aerobic composting facilities and anaerobic digesters), Oregon Administrative Rules Chapter 340-096-0060(3) requires all compost facilities, subject to regulation, to undergo a risk screening to determine the potential environmental risk a facility poses to human health and the environment. The type of composting facility permit (composting facility or anaerobic digester) will be determined based on the environmental risk evaluation.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCREENING
DEQ will conduct an environmental risk screening of composting facilities as provided in DEQ’s rules and guidance. DEQ will use information provided by a compost operator (see below) and other available information as necessary to evaluate the potential of a composting facility to adversely impact surface water and groundwater, soil or cause unacceptable offsite odors.

PERMIT: REGISTRATION, INDIVIDUAL COMPOSTING FACILITY OR ANAEROBIC DIGESTER

At the conclusion of the Environmental Screening, DEQ will notify applicants of the results of the screening. Composting facilities that DEQ determines present a low environmental risk will be issued a Registration Permit. In addition to requiring compliance with composting facility performance standards identified in OAR 340-096-0070, the Registration may include Approval Conditions for retaining a Registration-level permit.

Aerobic composting facilities and anaerobic digesters that DEQ determines present a potential risk to the environment will be required to submit a Site Operations Plan for DEQ review and approval. DEQ review of an Operations Plan requires a separate fee. The amount of the fee depends on the size of the facility. The Operations Plan must describe how a facility will be operated to address the identified environmental risks. After DEQ approval of an Operations Plan, the facility will be issued an Individual Composting Facility Permit or an Anaerobic Digester Composting Facility Permit.

Application Process

The following documentation must be submitted in writing in order for DEQ to conduct a risk screening and for the permit application to be complete. A complete application should include the following items.

Composting facility/ Anaerobic digester application items

The following items are requested to be submitted as part of the solid waste permit application form.

Environmental Risk Screening information

The following facility operational and physical information is necessary in order for DEQ to conduct an environmental risk screening. DEQ can help obtain some of the required information. If you have any questions, please contact a regional DEQ composting facility representative to discuss.

Operational information:

  • A description of the composting or anaerobic digestion operation including feedstock types, volumes and sources, feedstock receiving area prectices, methods of feedstock preparation such as grinding, feedstock or digestate storage area practices, composting or digestion methods, and uses of composted material or digestates;
  • A description of all existing or planned structures and features for managing leachate and stormwater, including but not limited to information about any detention or infiltration basins, and any infiltration structures such as filter strips and bioswales;
  • If the facility is subject to the pathogen reduction requirements of OAR 340-096-0070(5), a description of the methods the facility will use to achieve such pathogen reduction;
  • A description of Odor control measures including site design features and operational practices;
  • A description of the methods the facility will use to achieve vector control;
  • Any seasonal variations in the operation of the facility;
  • For anaerobic digesters:
    • A description of digestate retention structures and practices.
    • A description of uses for liquid and solid digestate including a description of agronomic use if land application of material.
  • Contact information including the composting facility operator, composting facility owner, and property owner; and
  • Operational and compliance history of the facility.

Physical information:

  • The location and site schematic, including areas for management of leachate and stormwater, of the existing or proposed facility by latitude and longitude, identified on a map;
  • The location of the facility on a tax lot map;
  • The location of and distance to surface water in the drainage area of the composting facility, and all drainage channels, ditches and any other water conveyances leading from the composting facility to surface water, identified on a map;
  • The locations of all commercial and residential structures within a one mile radius of the composting facility, identified on a map or photograph (aerial photograph);
  • A description of any leachate and stormwater produced at the facility, including information about the chemical composition of leachate;
  • For anaerobic digesters
    • Facility plans identifying leachate storage areas and biogas collection and storage facilities.

Note: DEQ will collect the following information if you have difficulty obtaining it.

  • Distance to the uppermost groundwater aquifer and other known aquifers at the location of the composting facility and in any areas proposed for infiltration of leachate or stormwater from the composting facility;
  • Soil type or types, and permeability if known or available, at the location of the composting facility and in any areas proposed for infiltration of leachate or stormwater;
  • The location and well logs of all wells on the property where the composting facility is located; the location and well logs of any wells within ¼ mile of the composting facility; and, if known, the location of any proposed wells within ¼ mile of the composting facility;
  • The prevailing wind direction, by season, identified on a map, and any other climactic information related to wind and air movement.

What to expect:

At the conclusion of the Environmental Screening, DEQ will notify applicants of the results of the screening. Composting facilities and anaerobic digesters that DEQ determines present a low environmental risk will be issued a Registration Permit. Composting facilities and anaerobic digesters that present a potential risk to the environment will be required to submit a Site Operations Plan (with fees) for DEQ approval and will receive an Individual Composting Facility Permit or Anaerobic Digester Permit once the Operations Plan is approved. For more information on DEQ’s permitting process go to the Regulating Composting Facilities and Anaerobic Digesters page.

FEES

Application:

In addition to an Environmental Screening Fee of $150, composting facilities and anaerobic digesters that are required to submit an Operations Plan for DEQ review and approval will be subject to an Operations Plan Review and Approval Fee (see table) and may be subject to a Composting Facility Engineering Review Fee of $500. DEQ will contact the applicant regarding additional requirements and fees, after the environmental risk screening is completed.

Operations Plan Review and Approval Fee

Annual amount of feedstock received Fee
100 tons – 3,500 tons $500
3,501 tons – 7,500 tons $750
7,501 tons – 10,000 tons $1,000
10,001 tons – 50,000 tons $2,000
> 50,000 tons $5,000

A Composting Facility Engineering Review Fee will apply if DEQ requires review of engineering plans and specifications for engineered facilities including but not limited to storage ponds, impervious composting surfaces, buildings, roads and or water drainage or storage structures.

Annual Compliance Fees:

Composting facilities that are issued a Registration permit will not pay annual compliance fees. Annual compliance fees will apply to composting facilities that DEQ determines pose a potential environmental risk and receive a Composting Facility permit. Annual compliance fees will be based on tonnage of feedstocks received.

Annual Composting Permit Compliance Fees

Annual feedstock tonnage Fee
< 100 tons $0
101 - 3,500 $100
3,501 – 7,500 $500
7,501 – 50,000 $1,000
> 50,000 $5,000

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact the regional solid waste permit coordinator in your area.

Disclaimer: These instructions are provided so potential permittees can more easily understand DEQ’s requirements for composting facilities in Oregon. For complete rule language and definitions, refer to Oregon Administrative Rules Chapter 340, Divisions 93, 96, and 97.

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For more information about DEQ's Land Quality programs, visit the DEQ contact page.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Headquarters: 811 SW Sixth Ave., Portland, OR 97204-1390
Phone: 503-229-5696 or toll free in Oregon 1-800-452-4011
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