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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 9. Environment
Agency 20. Virginia Waste Management Board
Chapter 81. Solid Waste Management Regulations
12/5/2020

9VAC20-81-397. Exempt yard waste composting facilities.

A. Applicability.

1. The standards in subsection B of this section apply to persons who compost vegetative waste in a manner described in the conditional exemption set forth at 9VAC20-81-95 D.

2. The standards in subsection C of this section apply to persons who operate small vegetative waste disposal units on their property.

B. Composting of yard waste. Additional requirements for managing conditionally exempt yard waste compost facilities, described under 9VAC20-81-95 D 6, are as follows:

1. Owners or operators of agricultural operational activities that accept only yard waste generated offsite are exempt from all other provisions of this chapter as applied to the composting activities provided that:

a. The total time for composting process and storage of material that is being composted shall not exceed 18 months prior to its field application or sale as a horticultural or agricultural product;

b. No waste material other than yard waste is received;

c. The total amount of yard waste received from offsite never exceeds 6,000 cubic yards in any consecutive 12-month period;

d. All applicable standards of local ordinances that govern or concern yard waste handling, composting, storage, or disposal are satisfied;

e. They pose no nuisance or present or potential threat to human health or the environment; and

f. Before receiving any waste, the owner submits a complete DEQ Form YW-3:

2. Owners or operators of agricultural operations that accept only Category I yard waste feedstocks and manures from herbivorous animals generated offsite are exempt from all other provisions of this chapter as applied to the composting activities provided that:

a. The composting area is located not less 300 feet from a property boundary of a parcel owned or controlled by another person, is located not less than 1,000 feet from an occupied dwelling not located on the same property as the composting area, and is not located within an area designated as a flood plain;

b. The agricultural operation has at least one acre of ground suitable to receive yard waste for each 150 cubic yards of finished compost;

c. The total time for the composting process and storage of material that is being composted or has been composted shall not exceed 18 months prior to the field application or sale as horticultural or agricultural product;

d. The owner or operator of any agricultural operation that receives in any 12-month period (consecutive) more than 6,000 cubic yards of waste generated from property not within the control of the owner or the operator shall submit by April 1 each year to the director an annual report in accordance with subdivision 4 of this subsection describing the volume and types of yard waste received for composting by the operation between January 1 and December 31 of the preceding consecutive 12 months and shall certify that the yard waste composting facility complies with local ordinances;

e. No waste material other than yard waste and manures from herbivorous animals are received;

f. The quantities of offsite manures from herbivorous animals brought onsite are limited to achieve a carbon to nitrogen ratio of 25:1 to 40:1. All manures must be incorporated into the compost within 24 hours of delivery. No offsite manures may be stored onsite; and

g. Prior to the receipt of solid waste generated offsite, the owner or operator of the agricultural operation intending to operate under this exemption shall submit a complete DEQ Form YW-4.

3. Owners or other persons authorized by the owner of real property who receive only yard waste generated offsite for the purpose of producing compost on said property shall be exempt from all requirements of this chapter as applied to the composting activity provided that:

a. Not more than 500 cubic yards of yard waste generated offsite is received at the owner's said property in any consecutive 12-month period;

b. No compensation will be received, either directly or indirectly, by the owner or other persons authorized by the owner of said property from parties providing yard waste generated off said property;

c. All applicable standards of local ordinances that govern or concern yard waste handling, composting, storage, or disposal are satisfied; and

d. They pose no nuisance or present or potential threat to human health or the environment.

4. Owners or operators of an agricultural composting operation in accordance with subdivision 2 of this subsection, who are exempt from the permitting requirements in accordance with 9VAC20-81-95 D and who may receive more than 6,000 cubic yards of yard waste generated from property not within the control of the owner or operator in any 12-month period shall submit an annual report on DEQ Form YW-2. The report shall describe the volume and types of yard waste received for composting. Completion and filing of the form by April 1 for activities in the preceding 12 months (January 1 through December 31) constitutes compliance with the requirements. The annual report shall be submitted on DEQ Form YW-2.

C. Small disposal units for vegetative wastes from land clearing. Additional requirements for managing small disposal units for vegetative waste from land clearing as exempted under 9VAC20-81-95 D 17 are as follows:

Owners of real property who operate small waste disposal units that qualify under all the conditions of this subsection shall be exempt from other provisions, including permitting, of this chapter as applied to those units provided:

1. No person other than the owner of the real property shall be exempt under this section.

2. All owners of the real property who hold title to property at the time the disposal unit is initially opened or during the time the unit remains open (limited to two calendar years below) shall, in the exercise of this exemption, accept responsibility for maintaining compliance of the unit with all requirements of this chapter as set out in this exemption.

3. The owner agrees that he shall not sell, give, or otherwise transfer the responsibility for the unit's compliance to any other party throughout its active life, the postclosure care period, and the corrective action period, and that he shall remain the principal party responsible for the compliance of the unit with this chapter.

4. Only units that are in compliance with all requirements of this section shall qualify, and units that are not in compliance with all requirements of this section shall not qualify or shall cease to qualify. Units that qualify for this exemption shall comply with the following requirements:

a. Only vegetative waste or yard waste shall be placed in the disposal unit; however, grass trimmings or bulk leaves shall not be placed in the disposal unit.

b. The waste disposal unit shall not be larger than 0.50 acres in size.

c. The waste disposal unit shall not be located within 1,000 feet of any other waste disposal unit of any type, including other disposal units exempted by this chapter.

d. The waste disposal unit shall not be located within 150 feet of any existing building or planned building. The waste disposal unit shall not be located within 50 feet of any existing or planned subdivision lot that may be used for the erection of a building.

e. The waste disposal unit shall not be located within 100 feet of a flowing stream; body of water; any well, spring, sinkhole, or unstable geologic feature. Also, it shall not be located within 200 feet of any groundwater source of drinking water.

f. The waste disposal unit shall be constructed to separate all waste by at least two feet vertically from the seasonal high water table.

g. The waste disposal unit should not obstruct the scenic view from any public road and should be graded to present a good appearance.

h. Mounding of the waste disposal unit shall not reach an elevation more than 20 feet above the original elevation of the terrain before the disposal began. The elevation of the original terrain should be based on the general area and not the bottom of ravines and small depressions in the disposal area.

i. The waste received by the waste disposal unit shall be limited to the following:

(1) Waste generated onsite;

(2) Waste generated by clearing the path of a roadway or appurtenances to the roadway when buried within the right-of-way of the roadway (waste shall not be buried in the structural roadway prism) or adjacent land under a permanent easement and the terms of the easement incorporate the construction of the disposal unit; and

(3) Waste from property that is owned by the owner of the disposal unit, within the same construction project, and generated not more than two miles from the unit.

j. The waste disposal unit shall be closed two calendar years from the date it first receives waste. The closure shall include cover with two feet of compacted soil, grading for good appearance with slopes that prevent erosion, and seeding or revegetation. During the life of the unit, earthen material should be applied periodically to prevent excessive subsidence of the waste disposal unit when closed. Sides of the finished unit shall be sloped to prevent erosion, and slopes shall not be steeper than one vertical foot to three horizontal feet.

k. The location plat and legal description, as set out in subdivision 4 p of this subsection, of all units that are not located wholly within the bed or right-of-way of a public road shall be recorded in the deed book for the property in the court of record prior to the first receipt of waste. Waste disposal shall not be allowed within the structural roadway prism.

l. The owner shall maintain continuous control of access to all disposal units from the time they are opened until they are closed in accordance with this section. The owner shall prevent fires and provide standby equipment and supplies sufficient to easily suppress a fire. Brush and small limbs that might provide tinder for a fire shall be covered at the end of the work day with one foot of soil.

m. The owner shall not be exempt from the CDD landfill groundwater monitoring and corrective action requirements of 9VAC20-81-250 and 9VAC20-81-260, respectively, to include required monitoring during the postclosure period.

n. The owner shall not be exempt from the decomposition gas monitoring and venting requirements of 9VAC20-81-210. The owner of a small waste disposal unit shall comply in all respects with the decomposition gas monitoring and venting requirements as established in this chapter.

o. The owner shall not be exempt from any requirement of the Financial Assurance Regulations For Solid Waste Disposal Facilities, (9VAC20-70), and shall comply with all financial assurance requirements.

p. At least six weeks before beginning construction of a vegetative waste disposal unit, the owner of the real property shall notify in writing the director, the governing board of the city, county, or town wherein the property lies, and all property owners whose parcel will abut the area of the proposed disposal unit. The notice shall give the names and legal addresses of the owners, the type of unit to be developed, and the projected date of initial construction of the unit. The owner shall include a plat and legal description of the disposal unit's metes and bounds prepared and stamped by a Virginia licensed land surveyor. The plat and description shall follow all standard practice such as inclusion of the nearest existing intersection of state roads and existing fixed survey markers in the vicinity.

q. Unless otherwise designated, all monitoring and reporting requirements shall begin at the initiation of the disposal operations and all reports shall be sent to the department and the chief executive of the local government.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-1402 of the Code of Virginia; 42 USC § 6941 et seq.; 40 CFR Part 258.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 27, Issue 12, eff. March 16, 2011; amended, Virginia Register Volume 27, Issue 22, eff. August 3, 2011.

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