Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 9. General Powers of Local Governments
11/27/2021

Article 2. Waste and Recycling.

§ 15.2-927. Garbage and refuse disposal.

Any locality may collect and dispose of garbage and other refuse; may regulate and inspect incinerators, dumps and other places and facilities for the disposal of garbage and other refuse and the manner in which such incinerators, dumps, places and facilities are operated or maintained; and without liability to the owner thereof may prevent the use thereof for such purposes when they contribute or are likely to contribute to the contraction or spread of infectious, contagious or dangerous diseases.

Code 1950, § 15-77.21; 1958, c. 328; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-857; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-928. Local recycling and waste disposal; powers; penalties.

A. Any locality may (i) provide and operate, within or outside its boundaries, solid waste management facilities and appurtenances for the collection, management, recycling and disposal of solid waste, recyclable materials, and other refuse of the residents and businesses of the locality; (ii) contract with other localities to provide such services jointly; (iii) contract with others for supplying such services; (iv) contract with any locality or agency of the Commonwealth to provide such services for either entity; (v) prohibit the disposal of garbage or recyclable materials in or at any place other than that provided by the public or private sector for the purpose; (vi) charge and collect compensation for such services; (vii) regulate the times and placement of waste and waste containers set out for collection, such regulation to require notice so as to allow removal by the owner of the waste or waste containers prior to imposition of a civil penalty, provided that, in the City of Roanoke, provided the third notice required herein included an opportunity for the owner to be heard, the civil penalty may be imposed without further notice after the third notice for violation; (viii) provide penalties, including either criminal or civil penalties, for the unauthorized use of or failure to use such facilities. Prosecution of either a civil or criminal offense shall preclude prosecution of the other for the same offense; and (ix) grant incentives to encourage recycling.

B. Any locality may by ordinance limit the use of solid waste depositories or receptacles, owned or maintained by the locality, to the disposal of garbage and other solid waste originating from within the boundaries of such locality. Any locality adopting such an ordinance may provide penalties for its violation pursuant to subsection A.

C. For the purposes of this section, recyclable materials shall be those materials identified in a plan adopted pursuant to § 10.1-1411 and regulations promulgated thereunder. Nothing in this section shall invalidate the actions of any locality taken prior to enactment of this section. Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting any generator of recyclable materials from selling, conveying or arranging for transportation of such materials to a recycler for reuse or reclamation, nor preventing a recycling company or nonprofit entity from collecting and transporting recyclable materials from a buy-back center, drop box or any generator of recyclable materials.

1991, c. 665, § 15.1-11.5:3; 1997, cc. 236, 587; 2000, c. 231; 2002, cc. 161, 690; 2003, c. 518; 2006, c. 847.

§ 15.2-929. Solid waste management facility siting approval.

A. Any locality may enact an ordinance regulating the siting of solid waste management facilities within its boundaries. The ordinance shall prescribe the criteria, form of application, and procedure, which shall include a public hearing, for siting approval. In establishing the criteria, the locality shall consider the potential effect of the siting of a solid waste management facility on the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the locality. Any person desiring to site a solid waste management facility within the boundaries of any locality which has adopted an ordinance pursuant to this section shall file its application with the governing body of the locality. Within 120 days of the receipt of an application which complies with the provisions of the ordinance, the governing body shall grant or deny siting approval. Failure to act within 120 days shall constitute a granting of siting approval.

B. Whenever any governing body denies siting approval, the applicant shall be entitled to appeal such decision to the circuit court of the jurisdiction denying siting approval.

C. Any person who has already been issued a permit to operate a solid waste management facility by the Department of Environmental Quality or has received zoning or other land use approval for the siting of the facility, prior to July 1, 1989, shall not be required to obtain siting approval for such solid waste management facility pursuant to the provisions of this section.

1989, c. 623, § 15.1-11.02; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-930. Regulation of garbage and refuse pickup and disposal services; contracting for such services.

A. Any locality may by ordinance impose license taxes upon and otherwise regulate the services rendered by any business engaged in the pickup and disposal of garbage, trash or refuse, wherein service will be provided to the residents of any such locality. Such regulation may include the delineation of service areas, the limitation of the number of persons engaged in such service in any such service area, including the creation of one or more exclusive service areas, and the regulation of rates of charge for any such service.

Such locality is authorized to contract with any person, whether profit or nonprofit, for garbage and refuse pickup and disposal services in its respective jurisdiction.

B. Prior to enacting an ordinance pursuant to subsection A which displaces a private company engaged in the provision of pickup and disposal of garbage, trash or refuse in service areas, the governing body shall: (i) hold at least one public hearing seeking comment on the advisability of such ordinance; (ii) provide at least forty-five days' written notice of the hearing, delivered by first class mail to all private companies which provide the service in the locality and which the locality is able to identify through local government records; and (iii) provide public notice of the hearing. Following the final public hearing held pursuant to the preceding sentence, but in no event longer than one year after the hearing, a governing body may enact an ordinance pursuant to subsection A which displaces a private company engaged in the provision of pickup and disposal of garbage, trash or refuse in a service area if the ordinance provides that private companies will not be displaced until five years after its passage. As an alternative to delaying displacement five years, a governing body may pay a company an amount equal to the company's preceding twelve months' gross receipts for the displaced service in the displacement area. Such five-year period shall lapse as to any private company being displaced when such company ceases to provide service within the displacement area.

For purposes of this section, "displace" or "displacement" means an ordinance prohibiting a private company from providing the service it is providing at the time a decision to displace is made. Displace or displacement does not mean: (i) competition between the public sector and private companies for individual contracts; (ii) situations where a locality or combination of localities, at the end of a contract with a private company, does not renew the contract and either awards the contract to another private company or, following a competitive process conducted in accordance with the Virginia Public Procurement Act, decides for any reason to contract with a public service authority established pursuant to the Virginia Water and Waste Authorities Act, or, following such competitive process, decides for any reason to provide such pickup and disposal service itself; (iii) situations where action is taken against a company because the company has acted in a manner threatening to the health and safety of the locality's citizens or resulting in a substantial public nuisance; (iv) situations where action is taken against a private company because the company has materially breached its contract with the locality or combination of localities; (v) situations where a private company refuses to continue operations under the terms and conditions of its existing agreement during the five-year period; (vi) entering into a contract with a private company to provide pickup and disposal of garbage, trash or refuse in a service area so long as such contract is not entered into pursuant to an ordinance which displaces or authorizes the displacement of another private company providing pickup and disposal of garbage, trash or refuse in such service area; or (vii) situations where at least fifty-five percent of the property owners in the displacement area petition the governing body to take over such collection service.

C. Any county with a population in excess of 800,000 may by ordinance provide civil penalties not exceeding $500 per offense for persons willfully contracting with a solid waste collector or collectors not licensed or permitted to perform refuse collection services within the county. For purposes of this section, evidence of a willful violation is the voluntary contracting by a person with a solid waste collector after having received written notice from the county that the solid waste collector is not licensed or permitted to operate within that county. Written notice may be provided by certified mail or by any appropriate method specified in Article 4 (§ 8.01-296 et seq.) of Chapter 8 of Title 8.01.

D. Fairfax County may by ordinance authorize the local police department to serve a summons to appear in court on solid waste collectors operating within that county without a license or permit. Each day the solid waste collector operates within the county without a license or permit is a separate offense, punishable by a fine of up to $500.

1968, c. 419, § 15.1-28.1; 1970, c. 219; 1978, c. 251; 1984, c. 763; 1994, c. 458; 1995, c. 660; 1997, c. 587; 2007, c. 813.

§ 15.2-931. Regulation of garbage and refuse pickup and disposal services; contracting for such services in certain localities.

A. Localities may adopt ordinances requiring the delivery of all or any portion of the garbage, trash or refuse generated or disposed of within such localities to waste disposal facilities located therein, or to waste disposal facilities located outside of such localities if the localities have contracted for capacity at or service from such facilities.

Such ordinances may not be adopted until the local governing body, following one or more public hearings, has made the following findings:

1. That other waste disposal facilities, including privately owned facilities and regional facilities, are: (i) unavailable; (ii) inadequate; (iii) unreliable; or (iv) not economically feasible, to meet the current and anticipated needs of the locality for waste disposal capacity; and

2. That the ordinance is necessary to ensure the availability of adequate financing for the construction, expansion or closing of the locality's facilities, and the costs incidental or related thereto.

No ordinance adopted by a locality under this subsection shall prevent or prohibit the disposal of garbage, trash or refuse at any facility: (i) which has been issued a solid waste management facility permit by an agency of the Commonwealth on or before July 1, 1991; or (ii) for which a Part A permit application for a new solid waste management facility permit, including local governing body certification, was submitted to the Department of Waste Management in accordance with § 10.1-1408.1 B on or before December 31, 1991.

B. Localities may provide in any ordinance adopted under this section that it is unlawful for any person to dispose of his garbage, trash and refuse in or at any other place. No such ordinance making it unlawful to dispose of garbage, trash and refuse in any other place shall apply to the occupants of single-family residences or family farms disposing of their own garbage, trash or refuse if such occupants have paid the fees, rates and charges of other single-family residences and family farms in the same service area.

No ordinance adopted under this section shall apply to garbage, trash and refuse generated, purchased or utilized by an entity engaged in the business of manufacturing, mining, processing, refining or conversion except for an entity engaged in the production of energy or refuse-derived fuels for sale to a person other than any entity controlling, controlled by or under the same control as the manufacturer, miner, processor, refiner or converter. Nor shall such ordinance apply to (i) recyclable materials, which are those materials that have been source-separated by any person or materials that have been separated from garbage, trash and refuse by any person for utilization in both cases as a raw material to be manufactured into a product other than fuel or energy, (ii) construction debris to be disposed of in a landfill, or (iii) waste oil. Such ordinances may provide penalties, fines and other punishment for violations.

Such localities are authorized to contract with any person, whether profit or nonprofit, for garbage and refuse pickup and disposal services in their respective localities and to enter into contracts relating to waste disposal facilities which recover energy or materials from garbage, trash and refuse. Such contracts may make provision for, among other things, (i) the purchase by the localities of all or a portion of the disposal capacity of a waste disposal facility located within or outside the localities for their present or future waste disposal requirements, (ii) the operation of such facility by the localities, (iii) the delivery by or on behalf of the contracting localities of specified quantities of garbage, trash and refuse, whether or not such counties, cities, and towns collect such garbage, trash and refuse, and the making of payments in respect of such quantities of garbage, trash and refuse, whether or not such garbage, trash and refuse are delivered, including payments in respect of revenues lost if garbage, trash and refuse are not delivered, (iv) adjustments to payments made by the localities in respect of inflation, changes in energy prices or residue disposal costs, taxes imposed upon the facility owner or operator, or other events beyond the control of the facility operator or owners, (v) the fixing and collection of fees, rates or charges for use of the disposal facility and for any product or service resulting from operation of the facility, and (vi) such other provision as is necessary for the safe and effective construction, maintenance or operation of such facility, whether or not such provision displaces competition in any market. Any such contract shall not be deemed to be a debt or gift of the localities within the meaning of any law, charter provision or debt limitation. Nothing in the foregoing powers granted such localities includes the authority to pledge the full faith and credit of such localities in violation of Article X, Section 10 of the Constitution of Virginia.

It has been and is continuing to be the policy of the Commonwealth to authorize each locality to displace or limit competition in the area of garbage, trash or refuse collection services and garbage, trash or refuse disposal services to provide for the health and safety of its citizens, to control disease, to prevent blight and other environmental degradation, to promote the generation of energy and the recovery of useful resources from garbage, trash and refuse, to protect limited natural resources for the benefit of its citizens, to limit noxious odors and unsightly garbage, trash and refuse and decay and to promote the general health and welfare by providing for adequate garbage, trash and refuse collection services and garbage, trash and refuse disposal services. Accordingly, governing bodies are directed and authorized to exercise all powers regarding garbage, trash and refuse collection and garbage, trash and refuse disposal notwithstanding any anti-competitive effect.

C. The following localities may by ordinance require the delivery of all or any portion of the garbage, trash and refuse generated or disposed of within such localities to waste disposal facilities located therein or to waste disposal facilities located outside of such localities if the localities have contracted for capacity at or service from such facilities: (i) Arlington County or the City of Alexandria, singly or jointly, two or all of such counties and cities; (ii) Fairfax County, Fauquier County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, or Stafford County and any town situated within or city wholly surrounded by any of such counties, singly or jointly, two or more of such localities, that have by resolution of the governing body committed the locality to own or operate a resource recovery waste disposal facility; and (iii) localities which are members of the Richmond Regional Planning District No. 15 or Crater Planning District No. 19, singly or jointly, two or more of such localities, that by ordinance of the governing body after a minimum of two public hearings, and after complying with applicable provisions of the Public Procurement Act (Chapter 43 (§ 2.2-4300 et seq.) of Title 2.2), have committed the locality to own, operate or contract for the operation of a resource recovery waste disposal facility.

1984, c. 763, § 15.1-28.01; 1987, c. 422; 1988, c. 264; 1991, cc. 521, 615; 1997, c. 587; 2007, c. 813.

§ 15.2-932. Authorization to enter into certain contracts for garbage and refuse pickup and disposal services; waste recovery facilities.

Any locality is authorized to contract with any person, whether profit or nonprofit, for garbage and refuse pickup and disposal services in its locality and to enter into contracts relating to waste disposal facilities which recover energy or materials from garbage, trash and refuse. Such contracts may make provision for, among other things, (i) the purchase by the locality of all or a portion of the disposal capacity of a waste disposal facility located within or outside the locality for its present or future waste disposal requirements, (ii) the operation of such facility by the locality, (iii) the delivery by or on behalf of the contracting locality of specified quantities of garbage, trash and refuse, whether or not such locality collects such garbage, trash and refuse, and the making of payments in respect of such quantities of garbage, trash and refuse, for such garbage, trash and refuse delivered, (iv) adjustments to payments made by the locality in respect of inflation, changes in energy prices or residue disposal costs, taxes imposed upon the facility owner or operator, or other events beyond the control of the facility operator or owners, (v) the fixing and collection of fees, rates or charges for use of the disposal facility and for any product or service resulting from operation of the facility, and (vi) such other provision as is necessary for the safe and effective construction, maintenance or operation of such facility, whether or not such provision displaces competition in any market. Any such contract shall not be deemed to be a debt or gift of the localities within the meaning of any law, charter provision or debt limitation. Nothing in the foregoing powers granted such locality shall include the authority to pledge the full faith and credit of such locality in violation of Article X, Section 10 of the Constitution of Virginia.

1985, c. 558, § 15.1-28.02; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-933. Ordinances requiring delivery of garbage, trash and refuse to certain facilities; exceptions.

Any ordinance requiring the delivery of all or any portion of the garbage, trash or refuse generated or disposed of within a locality to waste disposal facilities located within or outside the locality, or otherwise prohibiting the disposal of garbage, trash and refuse in or at any other place other than that provided for the purpose, shall not apply to garbage, trash and refuse generated, purchased or utilized by an entity engaged in the business of manufacturing, mining, processing, refining or conversion except for an entity engaged in the production of energy or refuse-derived fuels for sale to a person other than any entity controlling, controlled by or under the same control as the manufacturer, miner, processor, refiner or converter. Nor shall such ordinance apply to (i) recyclable materials, which are those materials that have been source-separated by any person or materials that have been separated from garbage, trash and refuse by any person for utilization in both cases as a raw material to be manufactured into a new product other than fuel or energy, (ii) construction debris to be disposed of in a landfill or (iii) waste oil.

1985, c. 558, § 15.1-28.03; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-934. Displacement of private waste companies.

No locality or combination of localities shall displace a private company providing garbage, trash or refuse collection service without first: (i) holding at least one public hearing seeking comment on the advisability of the locality or combination of localities providing such service; (ii) providing at least 45 days' written notice of the hearing, delivered by first class mail to all private companies that provide the service in the locality or localities and that the locality or localities are able to identify through local government records; (iii) providing public notice of the hearing; and (iv) making a written finding of at least one of the following: (a) adequate or sufficient privately-owned refuse collection and disposal services are not available; (b) the use of privately-owned and operated services has substantially endangered the public health or created a public nuisance; (c) privately-owned services, although available, are not able to provide needed services in a reasonable and cost-efficient manner; or (d) displacement is necessary to provide for the development or operation of a regional system of refuse collection or disposal for two or more localities. After making the findings required by this section, and not longer than one year after the final public hearing, the locality or combination of localities may proceed to take measures necessary to provide such service. A locality or combination of localities shall provide five years' notice to a private company before the locality or combination of localities engages in the actual provision of the service that displaces the company. As an alternative to delaying displacement five years, a locality or combination of localities may pay a displaced company an amount equal to the company's preceding 12 months' gross receipts for the displaced service in the displacement area. Such five-year period shall lapse as to any private company being displaced when such company ceases to provide service within the displacement area.

For purposes of this section, "displace" or "displacement" means a locality's or a combination of localities' provision of a service which prohibits a private company from providing the same service and which the company is providing at the time the decision to displace is made. Displace or displacement does not mean: (i) competition between the public sector and private companies for individual contracts; (ii) situations where a locality or combination of localities, at the end of a contract with a private company, does not renew the contract and either awards the contract to another private company or, following a competitive process conducted in accordance with the Virginia Public Procurement Act, decides for any reason to contract with a public service authority established pursuant to the Virginia Water and Waste Authorities Act, or, following such competitive process, decides for any reason to provide such collection service itself; (iii) situations where action is taken against a private company because the company has acted in a manner threatening to the health and safety of a locality's citizens or resulting in a substantial public nuisance; (iv) situations where action is taken against a private company because the company has materially breached its contract with the locality or combination of localities; (v) situations where a private company refuses to continue operations under the terms and conditions of its existing agreement during the five-year notice period; (vi) entering into a contract with a private company to provide garbage, trash or refuse collection so long as such contract is not entered into pursuant to an ordinance which displaces or authorizes the displacement of another private company providing garbage, trash or refuse collection; or (vii) situations where at least 55% of the property owners in the displacement area petition the governing body to take over such collection service.

1995, c. 660, § 15.1-28.04; 1997, c. 587; 2006, c. 74.

§ 15.2-935. Authority to prohibit placement of leaves or grass clippings in landfills.

A. Any locality may by ordinance prohibit the disposal of leaves or grass clippings in any privately operated landfill within its jurisdiction, provided such locality has implemented a composting program which is capable of handling all leaves and grass clippings generated within the jurisdiction. However, no such ordinance shall contain provisions which penalize anyone other than the initial generator of such leaves or grass clippings.

B. For purposes of this section, the term "composting" means the manipulation of the natural aerobic process of decomposition of organic materials to increase the rate of decomposition.

C. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any locality from prohibiting the disposal of leaves and grass clippings in any public landfill which it operates if that locality has implemented a composting program which is capable of handling all leaves and grass clippings generated within its jurisdiction.

1990, c. 172, § 15.1-11.5:1; 1992, c. 638; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-936. Garbage and refuse disposal; fee exemption.

Persons may be exempted, deferred, or charged a lesser amount by a locality from paying any charges and fees authorized by any law for the collection and disposal of garbage and refuse. Ordinances providing for such exemptions, deferrals or charges of lesser amounts may be conditioned upon only the income criteria as provided by § 58.1-3211 as in effect on December 31, 2010.

1992, cc. 197, 458, § 15.1-11.04; 1993, cc. 643, 651; 1997, c. 587; 2011, cc. 438, 496.

§ 15.2-937. Separation of solid waste.

A. Any locality may by ordinance require any person to separate solid waste for collection and recycling. Any such ordinance shall specify the type of materials to be separated. No such ordinance shall affect the right of any person to sell or otherwise dispose of waste material as provided in § 15.2-933 or permitted under any other law of the Commonwealth, nor shall any such ordinance impose any liability upon any apartment or commercial office building owner or manager for failure of tenants to comply with any provisions of the ordinance adopted pursuant to this section or upon any waste hauler for failure of its customers to comply with such ordinance. No such ordinance shall impose criminal penalties for failure to comply with its provisions; however, such ordinance may prescribe civil penalties for violations of the provisions of the ordinance.

B. Any locality may by ordinance provide for the reasonable inspection at any landfill within their jurisdiction of any tractor truck semitrailer combination with five or more axles transporting solid waste to any landfill within their jurisdiction to ensure separation of such solid waste in accordance with all applicable state laws and regulations. In enforcing such ordinance, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that solid waste transported from any jurisdiction which has comparable requirements for waste recycling is in compliance with such ordinance.

C. For purposes of this section, the term "recycling" has the meaning ascribed to it in § 10.1-1414.

1988, c. 373, § 15.1-11.5; 1990, cc. 608, 961; 1992, c. 638; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-938. Preference for purchase of recycled paper and paper products.

A. Any locality may by ordinance require that in determining the award of any contract for paper or paper products to be purchased for use by any division, department, or agency of such locality, the purchasing agent for such locality shall procure using competitive sealed bidding and shall award to the lowest responsible bidder offering recycled paper or paper products of a quality suitable for the purpose intended, so long as the bid price is not more than ten percent greater than the bid price of the low responsive and responsible bidder offering a product that does not qualify under subsection B of this section.

B. For purposes of this section, recycled paper and paper products means any paper and paper products meeting the EPA Recommended Content Standards as defined in former 40 C.F.R. Part 247.

1990, cc. 449, 857, § 15.1-11.5:01; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-939. Ordinances requiring recycling reports.

Any locality may by ordinance require all nonresidential solid waste generators and companies that manage solid waste or recycle materials generated within its jurisdiction to annually report such nonproprietary information regarding waste generation, waste management, and recycling as is necessary to facilitate compliance with regulations adopted pursuant to § 10.1-1411. Any report required under this section shall be based on volume or weight, provided that where such measurements cannot be accurately determined, the report may be based on carefully estimated data.

1990, cc. 540, 563, § 15.1-11.5:2; 1997, c. 587.