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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 9. Environment
Agency 20. Virginia Waste Management Board
Chapter 50. Hazardous Waste Facility Siting Criteria
3/29/2020

9VAC20-50-80. Site Criteria.

Article 4
Siting Limitations

The board, in making its determination to site a facility, conditionally or otherwise, or to deny an application to site a hazardous waste facility, will consider the criteria listed below in relation to the type of hazardous waste facility to be sited.

A. Limitations.

1. Water quality surface and groundwater.

a. The water resources of the state should be afforded the maximum protection reasonably possible. A major accident or leakage at a hazardous waste facility could lead to degradation of surface and groundwater in the vicinity of the facility. The degradation of the surface and groundwater could create a significant hazard to public health. Siting of a facility must take into account water quality problems which may result from the operation of the facility. The board will consider the following water quality characteristics and other factors determined appropriate for the type of facility:

(1) The proximity of the facility to surface and groundwaters, including aquifer recharge areas.

(2) The existing quality and current and future use of the surface and groundwaters.

(3) The risk to public health and the environment.

b. Category limits.

(1) Surface waters of the state are protected from point source and non-point sources of contamination by existing federal and state laws as administered by the State Water Control Board, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and other agencies.

(2) Existing groundwater quality is to be protected from degradation based on the board's Anti-Degradation Goal for Groundwater and the provisions set forth in this section.

The board may require information on the following groundwater quality characteristics and other factors determined appropriate for Category I facilities. This information shall be provided for all other categories.

(a) Site geology/geohydrology;

(b) Depth to aquifers and thickness of overburden;

(c) Presence of fractures and faults, joints, solution cavities;

(d) Thickness of soil/saprolite layer;

(e) Present and potential aquifer use;

(f) Aquifer recharge/productivity;

(g) Proximity to sensitive receptors;

(h) Aquifers hydraulic characteristics:

(i) Hydraulic conductivity,

(ii) Transmissivity,

(iii) Storage coefficient,

(iv) Head distribution;

(i) Cation/anion exchange capacity.

And all other site characteristics requested.

For all systems and supplies, more restrictive limitations of other state agencies shall apply.

2. Community/noncommunity water system and supply surface water.

a. A hazardous waste facility should not be sited so that a community/noncommunity water system and supply of surface water would be jeopardized by the construction, operation, and close-out of the facility.

b. Category limits.

(1) Category I, II, or III facilities may be sited in proximity to a community/noncommunity drinking water system and supply of surface water if the construction, operation, and close-out of the proposed facility do not pose an unreasonable risk to the community/noncommunity water system and supply of surface water and the applicant demonstrates that the facility is designed and will be constructed, operated, and closed-out in a manner which will protect the public water system and supply of surface water from contamination by spills at the facility and demonstrates that spill containment at the facility is adequate to contain all spills. (See definition of "Proximity to a community/noncommunity water system and supply of surface water.")

(2) A category IV or V facility shall not be sited in proximity to a community/noncommunity water system and supply of surface water.

3. Community/noncommunity water system and supply groundwater.

a. The degradation of a community/noncommunity water system and supply of groundwater may create a significant hazard to public health. All community/noncommunity public water systems and supplies of groundwater should be adequately protected from the threat of degradation from a hazardous waste facility.

b. Category limits.

(1) Category I, II, and III facilities may be sited in proximity to a community/noncommunity water system and supply of groundwater if the construction, operation, and close-out of the proposed facility do not pose an unreasonable risk to the community/noncommunity water system and supply of groundwater and the applicant demonstrates that the facility is designed and will be constructed, operated, and closed-out in a manner which will protect the community/noncommunity water system and supply of groundwater from degradation by spills at the facility and demonstrates that spill containment at the facility is adequate to contain all spills. (See definition of "Proximity to a community/noncommunity water system and supply of groundwater.")

(2) Category IV and V hazardous waste facilities shall not be sited in proximity to any community/noncommunity water system and supply of groundwater.

4. Private water system and supply surface and groundwater.

a. A private water system and supply of surface and groundwater should be protected from the threat of degradation from a hazardous waste facility.

b. Category limits.

(1) Category I, II or III facilities may be sited in proximity to a private water system and supply of surface or groundwater if the construction, operation, and close-out of the proposed facility do not pose an unreasonable risk to the private water system and supply of surface and groundwater and the applicant demonstrates that the facility is designed, and will be constructed, operated, and closed-out in a manner which will protect the private water system and supply of surface and groundwater from degradation by spills at the facility and demonstrates that spill containment at the facility is adequate to contain all spills.

(2) Category IV and V facilities may be sited in proximity to a private water system and supply of surface or groundwater if the applicant demonstrates that a reasonable alternative drinking water supply to the existing drinking water supply is available and provides financial resources to develop the alternative supply should it become necessary due to degradation of the existing water supply resulting from a spill or leaks from the facility.

Water quality and geohydrologic studies as provided in 9VAC20-50-80 A 1 shall be conducted to reveal the potential for siting impacts and to indicate the level of risk associated with the proposed facility.

5. Air quality.

a. Siting of a facility must take into account air quality problems which may result from the operation of the facility or accidental fires and explosions which may occur. The board shall consider potential air quality problems which may occur as the result of historical or estimated meteorological conditions and to what extent such respective problems and conditions will affect neighboring communities. In considering air quality the board will consider the following characteristics and other factors determined appropriate for the type of facility:

(1) The characteristics (stability) of the atmosphere which affect the site;

(2) The population, present and projected, in relation to the facility and prevailing wind;

(3) Characteristics of the wind.

b. Category I-V facilities may be sited if the construction and operation of the proposed facility do not pose an unacceptable risk to public health and the applicant demonstrates that the facility is designed and will be constructed, operated and maintained in a manner which will protect the public health during normal operation or in the event of accidental releases.

6. Commercial port facilities.

a. An accident at a hazardous waste storage facility at a commercial port facility could result in immediate contamination of surface water and create a significant risk to public health and safety. Additional consideration should be given to storage facilities for hazardous waste at commercial port facilities based on the special risks posed.

b. Category I facilities for the temporary storage of hazardous wastes destined for import, export or ocean incineration, which are sited at port facilities specifically designed for commercial shipping, may be allowed if those facilities are designed for the storage of hazardous wastes and have been designed and will be constructed to withstand the 100-year flood and the flood of record at the port facility.

7. Endangered and threatened species habitat.

a. The board shall focus on adverse impacts of the facility on endangered and threatened species or critical habitat for wildlife generally and the extent to which mitigation measures can be effectively implemented.

b. A hazardous waste facility shall not be sited in locations where the siting, construction and operation of the proposed facility would occupy or threaten the known habitat or an endangered or threatened plant, insect, fish or wildlife species to the extent that the continued existence of the species is threatened.

8. Proximity to publicly designated areas.

a. Areas which are designated by federal, state and local governments for their exceptional characteristics are of special importance. These areas should be protected from unwarranted intrusion by the siting of hazardous waste facilities which could destroy the character, or use and enjoyment, and thus their objective, or their designation. The following categories are listed for their natural, scenic, historic, cultural and aesthetic values:

(1) Historic, cultural and natural sites and landmarks;

(2) The corridors of outstanding resource waters (wild, scenic and recreational);

(3) Publicly owned forest areas;

(4) Dedicated or designated open space;

(5) Public recreational areas;

(6) The Appalachian Trail or other federal and state designated trails;

(7) Wildlife refuges, fish hatcheries and game lands; and

(8) Scenic views.

b. Potential impacts of the proposed facility on the natural, scenic, historic, cultural and aesthetic values of the environment will be evaluated. The applicant must demonstrate that the construction and operation of the proposed facility will not impair the environmental and aesthetic qualities of the area. Distance from the publicly designated area to the facility will be taken into consideration.

9. Subsurface mining areas.

a. Areas where mineral resources of a solid, gaseous or liquid form have been removed by underground mining or drilling procedures or at the time of submission of the notice of intent are planned for removal are vulnerable to subsidence. Strong consideration should be given to the potential threat to the integrity of a proposed facility as a consequence of mining-related subsidence.

b. Category limits.

(1) Category I, II, and III facilities may be allowed in subsurface mining areas as defined in this chapter provided the applicant demonstrates that the facility is designed and will be constructed and operated such that the integrity of the facility will not be jeopardized by mine-related subsidence.

(2) Category IV and V facilities are not allowed in subsurface mining areas as defined in this chapter.

10. Slope.

a. Consideration should be given to the effect of the slope of the proposed site and adjacent lands with respect to waste management facilities including the speed at which uncontrolled releases may run off a site, site preparation techniques and costs, site design, operating procedures, site stability, potential for erosion, and visibility.

b. Category limits.

(1) Category I, II and III facilities may be allowed on slopes in excess of 15% if the applicant demonstrates that the facility is designed and will be constructed and operated such that the integrity of the facility will not be jeopardized.

(2) Category IV and V facilities are prohibited on slopes 15% or greater.

11. Active faults and seismic risk zones/seismogenic volume.

a. Major active fault zone and seismic risk zone/seismogenic volume features which are mapped by the U.S. Geological Survey, Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, or other agency with the responsibility for such matters, or as discovered by site investigation by a professional geologist, may pose a potential for (i) seismic-related accidents, and/or (ii) associated degradation of ground and surface waters should a facility's containment measures be breached and leakage occur.

b. Category limits.

(1) Category I, II, and III facilities may be sited in proximity to an active fault or seismic risk zone/seismogenic volume if the construction and operation of the proposed facilities do not pose a risk to public health or the environment and the applicant demonstrates that the facility is designed and will be constructed, operated and maintained in a manner which will protect the public health and the environment from contamination by spills at the facility and demonstrates that spill containment at the facility is adequate to contain all spills.

(2) No Category IV or V facility will be sited within 305 meters (1,000 feet) of an active fault as mapped by the U.S. Geological Survey, the Division of Mineral Resources, Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, or other agency with the responsibility for such matters or as discovered by site investigation by a professional geologist. No Category IV or V facility will be sited in proximity to an active fault or seismic risk zone/seismogenic volume unless the applicant demonstrates that the facility is designed and will be constructed, operated and maintained in a manner which will protect the physical integrity of the facility and protect the quality of ground and surface waters.

12. Risk of accident in transportation.

a. The board shall evaluate the risk associated with the transportation of hazardous waste to the proposed site. Accident risk is a function of the probability of an accident and the consequences of an accident, should one occur. The transport routes over which the wastes will be delivered to the site shall be considered by the board.

b. In considering risk of accident in transportation the board will assess:

(1) Mode of transport;

(2) Proposed highway/roadway system to be used;

(3) Accident rate of mode and route;

(4) Characteristics of structures within 0.5 mile of the route, i.e., schools, hospitals;

(5) Nature of transportation restrictions, i.e., traffic intersections, highway geometrics, traffic/railroad intersections, tunnels, bridges, toll booths, level of congestion;

(6) Schedule and frequency of deliveries, vehicle disposition plan in the event of facility shutdown;

(7) Potential adverse environmental or health effects in the event of an accident;

(8) Characteristics of the residential and nonresidential population within 0.5 mile of the transport route;

(9) Projected population and the rate of growth for areas within 0.5 mile of the transport routes during the 20-year period following initial site operation; and

(10) Host and affected community emergency response capability along the routes.

13. Proximity to major structures.

a. The linear distance from the site boundary to major structures must be considered (e.g., residence, airport, school, hospital, church, commercial centers, nursing home). Acceptable buffer zones separating residences and certain other types of sensitive populated structures from the types of operations conducted at hazardous waste sites are needed.

b. In reviewing the proposal, the board will assess:

(1) Proximity of airports, utilities and other major structures; and

(2) Characteristics of buffer zones.

14. Local government.

a. The site shall be considered for consistency with the local master land use plan or the pattern of already existing land uses or zoning ordinance of the host community where no comprehensive plan has been adopted. Consistency with local laws, ordinances, rules and regulations which have been adopted pursuant to a master land use plan will also be considered, including important farm land protection activities.

Further, the short and long term financial effects of the addition of the proposed facility to the locality shall be considered. Both the increased tax revenues and the added burden of providing services to the facility are important factors.

b. The board will assess both short and long term (20 years) effects:

(1) Consistency of site with the master land use plan, compatibility with existing land uses;

(2) Consistency with local laws, ordinances, rules and regulations;

(3) Local tax revenue generated;

(4) Public services required;

(5) Impact on property values; and

(6) Economic development impacts.

15. Fire and explosions.

a. Due to the nature of the wastes, special consideration must be given by the board to the potential for fires and explosions at the site. Because of the inherent quality of the wastes, the chief focus shall be on proposed safety measures and emergency response techniques.

b. In assessing the risk of fire and explosion, the board will evaluate:

(1) Distances from site to residential, commercial and industrial buildings, public highways, railroads.

(2) Minimum distances established by the board.

(3) Level of service for fire, police protection and emergency medical services and the applicant's emergency implementation plan.

(4) Proximity to fire department and fire fighting water supply.

(5) Measures to contain fire fighting water or other substance used in the event of accidents.

(6) Characteristics of the residential and nonresidential population within 0.5 mile of the site boundary.

(7) Projected population and the rate of growth for the area within 0.5 mile of the site boundary.

16. Soil characteristics.

a. Consideration should be given to the characteristics of the soils which affect the suitability of the site for the development proposed.

b. In reviewing the proposal, the board will assess the proposal based on, but not limited to, the following soil characteristics:

(1) Bearing qualities;

(2) Stability;

(3) Drainage; and

(4) Permeability.

B. Other factors. The board shall consider any other factors identified during the course of the certification process which are determined by the board to be relevant and impact the environment, quality of life, and public health, welfare or safety.

Statutory Authority

§§ 10.1-1434 and 10.1-1436 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR672-01-5 § 2.4, eff. April 30, 1986; amended, Volume 21, Issue 20, eff. July 13, 2005.

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