BOARD MEETING DATE: January 10, 2003
Barry R. Wallerstein, D.Env.
The proposed rules would in part implement Control Measure WST-02 Emission Reductions from Composting, which was included in the 1994 and 1997 AQMPs as well as in the 1999 amendment to the 1997 Ozone State Implementation Plan for the South Coast Air Basin. The control measure called for the development of an emissions inventory as well as identification of technically and economically feasible control options for composting operations, which are currently not subject to any specific District regulations for VOC or ammonia. Accordingly, a technology assessment was conducted by staff, which provided the industry profile and background information on composting operations, developed an estimated emissions inventory, identified and evaluated various feasible control methods, conducted cost-effectiveness analysis, and provided recommendations for rule development. Based on the Technology Assessment Report, significant VOC and ammonia emissions are attributed to the composting-related operations. The baseline emissions inventory for this industry (i.e., greenwaste composting and co-composting) was estimated at 6.8 and 4.7 tons per day for VOC and ammonia, respectively. VOCs and ammonia are precursors to ozone and PM10 emissions for which ambient air quality standards are currently exceeded in the Basin. In co-composting operations, biosolids (e.g., sewer sludge) and/or manure are mixed with bulking agents such as greenwaste to produce compost whereas in greenwaste composting, greenwaste by itself or in combination with small amounts of manure are composted to produce compost products.
At its April 5, 2002 Board meeting, the Governing Board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) conducted a Pre-Hearing on controlling VOC and ammonia emissions from composting and related operations and received staffs Technology Assessment Report. Accordingly, the Governing Board directed AQMD staff to proceed with rulemaking and to develop a series of proposed rules to address each sector of the composting and related operations industry independently. Also, according to the AQMD Governing Boards direction, a Composting Technical Advisory Committee (CTAC) was established to oversee the on-going technical studies of cost-effective composting control technologies and assist AQMD staff during rule development. In addition, a Co-Composting Subcommittee to CTAC was subsequently formed to further evaluate specific issues related to controlling emissions from co-composting operations. At the April 2002 Board Meeting as well as subsequent Stationary Source Committee meetings, Board members also directed staff to re-evaluate the cost of controlling emissions from existing as well as small new facilities, in addition to large new facilities, because costs need not necessarily be borne by the facility, but may be passed on as a fee to waste disposal customers.
The three primary categories of composting operations include co-composting, greenwaste composting, and chipping and grinding, which contribute to significant amounts of VOC and ammonia emissions in the South Coast Air Basin (Basin). Although emissions from greenwaste composting operations are significant (approximately 5 tons of VOC and 1 ton of ammonia per day) and control options for these operations could result in significant reductions, the affordability analysis presented in the technology assessment demonstrated that the cost impact for this industry would be substantial. Therefore, specific control requirements are not proposed for greenwaste composting operations at this time. Staff would continue to work with all stakeholders including the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB), sanitation districts and local municipalities to seek funding sources and identify feasible control methods for greenwaste composting operations. For co-composting operations, however, control methods (e.g., enclosures, forced aeration and in-vessel systems) are available which can significantly reduce emissions from these operations. For chipping and grinding activities, holding/processing times are proposed to prevent inadvertent decomposition occurring during stockpiling of greenwaste or foodwaste (which results in anaerobic decomposition of these wastes and generates VOC and ammonia emissions based on source tests conducted by AQMD and CIWMB).
The proposed rules for composting and related operations are presented here as three separate rules: Proposed Rule (PR) 1133 Composting and Related Operations - General Administrative Requirements; Proposed Rule 1133.1 Chipping and Grinding Activities; and Proposed Rule 1133.2 Emission Reductions from Co-Composting Operations.
PR 1133 would require composting and chipping and grinding facilities to register with AQMD and provide their facility and throughput information (e.g., type and amount of feedstock and products, process description, etc.). These facilities will also be required to provide annual updates to AQMD on their registration information. Specific exemptions are provided for nurseries; community, recreational, agricultural, and backyard composting; and wood waste and portable chipping and grinding facilities.
PR1133.1 would establish holding or processing (i.e., chipping and grinding or on-site applications) time requirements for greenwaste and foodwaste chipping and grinding activities in order to prevent inadvertent decomposition associated with stockpiling greenwaste or foodwaste for extended periods of time. The holding/processing times established for foodwaste and different types of greenwaste (curbside, non-curbside, mixed) are primarily in line with normal practice of chipping and grinding operations and will not interfere with AB 939 diversion goals (waste diversion from landfills).
PR1133.2 would require new co-composting operations to enclose their active co-composting operations and use forced-air aeration systems for their curing part of the operation. Both the air exhaust from the enclosure and the aeration system are to be vented to an emission control system with a control efficiency of at least 80 percent for VOC and ammonia emissions. Alternatively, new co-composting operations may use any combination of composting and control methods to achieve an overall emission reduction of 80 percent, by weight, for VOC and ammonia emissions from both active and curing phases of the composting process. This alternative method of compliance would also require the submittal of a compliance plan at least one year prior to the start of operations. Existing co-composting operations will also be required to employ any combination of composting and control methods to achieve an overall emission reduction of 70 percent for VOC and ammonia emissions. Existing co-composting operations would also be required to submit a compliance plan at least one year prior to their effective date of compliance. The effective compliance date for new co-composting operations is as of the date of adoption of this rule. Existing co-composting operations compliance dates range from the year 2007 to 2009 depending on the size of their operations.
The emissions inventory from existing co-composting operations is estimated at 1.7 tons of VOC and 2.7 tons of ammonia per day. Based on the emission reduction target of 70% for VOC and ammonia, the emission reductions are expected to be 1.2 tons of VOC and 1.9 tons of ammonia upon implementation of PR1133.2. The cost effectiveness of the proposed rule 1133.2 is estimated at $8,700 to $10,000 per ton of VOC and ammonia reduced (or $23,000 to $26,500 per ton of VOC reduced) based on enclosure for the active phase and the use of an aeration system for the curing phase (both vented to a biofilter). Also, based on staffs analysis, the compliance cost for all existing co-composting operations will represent a nominal increase of $0.25 per month per household assuming that the cost would be passed onto the Basin households. For a new co-composting facility, the compliance cost will be $0.004 per month per household for every 10,000 tons of throughput using the same assumption. Therefore, the proposal is considered affordable provided that the cost would be passed through to households.
One of the largest existing facilities has indicated that it has a non-renewable conditional use permit at its existing location and that compliance with PR1133.2 would be cost-prohibitive because of the limited time (i.e., 2 to 3 years beyond compliance date) to amortize associated compliance cost (approximately $40 million) and would result in early closure of the facility. Although the operating status of the facility is uncertain due to the pending litigation on the conditional use permit, in the event the use permit is not extended and the facility cannot continue operations, a special provision has been added to the rule. Proposed Rule 1133.2 includes a provision to extend the effective compliance date for up to three years for such facility provided that the facility submits a copy of its conditional use permit and a letter from the responsible agency conforming that the permit has an expiration date and it is non-renewable. Also, since the operating status of the facility is uncertain, staff is committed to revisit the appropriateness of the compliance date of PR1133.2 with respect to local jurisdictions actions on the conditional use permit for this facility.
AQMP and Legal Mandates
The California Health and Safety Code requires the AQMD to adopt an Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP) to meet state and federal ambient air standards in the Basin. In addition, the California Health and Safety Code requires that the AQMD adopt rules and regulations that carry out the objectives of the AQMP. The proposed rule implements in part the control measure WST-02 Emission Reductions from Composting, which was included in the 1994 and 1997 AQMPs as well as in the 1999 amendment to the 1997 Ozone State Implementation Plan for the South Coast Air Basin.
CEQA & Socioeconomic Analysis
Pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines Section 15252 and the AQMDs Certified Regulatory Program (Rule 110), staff has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed Rules 1133, 1133.1. and 1133.2. The Draft EA, which was made available for a 30-day review period, concluded that the proposed rules would not have any significant adverse affects on environment. Responses to comments received on the EA have been prepared and are part to the Final EA, which is included as part of the attached package for the public hearing on the proposed rules.
PR 1133 affects a total of 74 facilities, including 18 greenwaste, 47 chipping and grinding, and 9 co-composting facilities. PR 1133.1 would impact 18 greenwaste and 47 chipping and grinding facilities. PR 1133.2 would impact seven co-composing facilities. The total compliance cost for the 74 facilities affected by PR 1133 would be $6,630 for a one-time registration fee. PR 1133.1 would result in minimal cost to affected facilities. The average annual cost of the PR 1133.2 is estimated at $14.80 million. It is estimated that an average of 155 jobs could be forgone annually in the local economy as a result. It should be noted that the projected compliance cost and job impact are based on the conservative worst case cost analysis that all existing co-composting facilities would have to implement controls because of PR1133.2. However, considering the two existing facilities' plan to move to an enclosed facility (vented to biofilter) despite the proposed rule and one facility's potential extension of compliance date, the compliance cost and regional economic impact associated with PR1133.2 will be about 10% of these estimates.
The proposed rules will affect composting and chipping and grinding facilities. Staff will continue to work with these affected facilities and through the Composting Technical Advisory Committee to address any implementation issues in the future and to identify cost-effective compliance options. An outreach effort will also be conducted to inform composting related facilities regarding the registration requirements.
Implementation of the proposed rule is not expected to have an impact on AQMD fiscal resources. It will, however, increase staff's workload in making compliance determinations and issuing permits for new or modified co-composting facilities. The workload increase is expected to be minor and no additional staff will be required.
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