California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

LEA Roundtables

Meeting Notes: May/June 2012

Spring Roundtables (RT) were conducted in May/June 2012 throughout the state in five venues: San Diego, Nevada City, Mt. Shasta, Petaluma, and Hanford. Venues for each RT rotate throughout the state during the Winter-Spring-Fall RTs. The agenda for each venue identifies issues of regional concern. Each RT meeting has a Local Enforcement Agency (LEA) Chair, selected by the LEAs within the region. This individual also represents the region on the Enforcement Advisory Council (EAC). The collection of these notes summarizes some of the dialogue occurring at the RTs and may paraphrase a number of concerns or recommendations of LEA staff in attendance. To make information available on issues with statewide implications CalRecycle will post these meeting notes on our web site, and, as needed, include follow-up information about activities to resolve or clarify issues. This series of RTs were attended by forty-six LEA representatives, which represented seventy-seven percent (77%) of the jurisdictions throughout California.

Five-Year Permit Review Process

The Enforcement Advisory Council (EAC) at its December 2011 meeting adopted Resolution 2011-04 to raise concerns regarding five-year permit reviews. The resolution was sent to the Chair of the California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health, Solid Waste Policy Committee. The EAC considered issues and concerns from LEAs throughout the state and developed the following recommendations to improve the current process: (1) Whenever a permit revision or modification process is at least as thorough as that required for a standalone 5-year permit review, allow the LEA to reset the due date for the next permit review; (2) Allow permit revisions during a standalone 5-year permit review; (3) Work with CalRecycle to identify and suggest changes to statute, regulations, and/or CalRecycle guidance so that these are consistent with current practice implemented by many LEAs; (4) A workshop for industry and other interested parties is recommended to allow for their input, particularly if all parties find a need to change to statute, regulations, or advisories.

The California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health, Solid Waste Policy Committee recommended workshops on the issues.

CalRecycle facilitated a workshop via Webinar and at CalEPA Headquarters in Sacramento on the Solid Waste Facilities Permit Five-Year Review Process on July 24, 2012; it was open to all stakeholders and the public. CalRecycle reviewed issues and concerns raised by LEAs relating to the Five-Year Permit Review Report (PRR) process. Two speakers utilizing a Power Point Presentation SWFP Five Year Review Workshop facilitated the workshop, and a handout, Reviews vs. Revisions/Modifications, was provided. The workshop included a review of the Public Resource Code governing permit review and permits revisions, the operator’s responsibility under Title 27 of the California Code of Regulations, and CalRecycle requirements. A comment period was provided to the attendees towards the end of the workshop. Additional comments, suggestions or input on the workshop may be submitted to Megan Fisher.

RFI Amendments and EA Notification--At the Northern Region Round Table there were some questions on the CalRecycle Permit Tool Box. Dave Otsubo, Supervising Integrated Waste Management Specialist I addressed the group and reviewed RFI amendments and the Permit process, including when a minor change takes place at a solid waste facility. He explained the RFI amendment identifies a specific but minor change in design or operation, whereas a permit focuses on the environment and health & safety. In addition, the CalRecycle Tool Box is in the process of being updated to reflect minor regulatory changes that went into effect a few years ago.

Questions on the permit review process? Contact the Permitting and Inspection (P&I) staff liaison for your jurisdiction.

Assembly Bill (AB) 341

Assembly Bill (AB) 341 (Chapter 476, Statutes of 2011 [Chesbro, AB 341]) among several items directed CalRecycle to develop and adopt regulations for mandatory commercial recycling. CalRecycle initiated formal rulemaking with a 45-day comment period beginning Oct. 28, 2011. The final regulation was approved by the Office of Administrative Law on May 7, 2012. These regulations took effect on July 1, 2012.

In addition to Mandatory Commercial Recycling, AB 341 sets a statewide goal for 75% disposal reduction by the year 2020 see California’s 75 Percent Recycling Initiative. This is not written as a 75% diversion mandate for each jurisdiction. The 50% disposal reduction mandate still stands for cities, counties, and State agencies (including community colleges) under AB 939 and AB 75, respectively. Similarly, AB 341 does not mandate a diversion goal for businesses - it simply requires that jurisdictions implement a commercial recycling program.

Through the enactment of AB 341 CalRecycle has also been directed by the Legislature and Governor Brown to propose a plan for the next step in the evolution of California’s management of solid waste streams. CalRecycle is required to provide a report to the Legislature by January 1, 2014 detailing strategies to achieve the goal of 75% disposal reduction.

CalRecycle held two workshops, one on May 14, 2012 in Sacramento and the other on May 21, 2012 in Diamond Bar to cultivate strategies, generate ideas, and comments on the development of the report due to the Legislature.

Implications to AB 341 were discussed at the Regional Round Tables; one question to lead off the discussion was “as waste volume and tipping fees decline, how will LEAs address loss of revenue?” Local Enforcement Agencies (LEA) shared their ideas and concerns, each region provided comments:

Bay Area Region: The 75% is a feel good number, you must have recycling on the surface and it’s a goal. This will require us to look at things differently; extended provider responsibility (EPR) is another strategy. Look at new methodologies for composting. New idea is recycling parks. On revenue, permit fees or tonnage, it depends on how they are set-up. Biggest take away is market strategies and moving things forward. Proposition 26 is challenging our fee structure. To get to the 75% you are going to need to be more creative.

South Central Region: LEAs are almost funded 100% by tipping fees, will work on getting fees increased. Other counties charge by inspection. How do you tier a fee schedule for EA Notification? LEA grant amount has never changed. Comments at the CalRecycle workshop on May 14 were on the broad side. Issues on how we are going to count the 75%, and diversion, is that really recycling?

Northern Region: Some counties see the move to Waste to Energy (WTE). Some counties looking to get all food waste out of the county.

North Central Region: Looking for new and innovative way to do business. LEAs may see uptick in new activities at facilities. Organics are the largest portion of recoverable material – need to allow time for industry to grab ahold of the direction. LEA will react once decisions are made. Industry is skeptical, lots of competing factions. CalRecycle does not want to dissuade innovation. The commercial recycling regulation makes it mandatory for commercial businesses to recycle; this does not fall under the authority of LEAs. Amador County has a commercial recycling ordinance.

Southern/South Western Region: Looking at evolving the LEAs role in diversion, the CalRecycle report is an overwhelming document but good to kick around ideas. City of Vernon adopted AB 341 ordinance, it goes into effect in July. City of San Diego has an ordinance regarding commercial recycling. San Bernardino switched to permit fee for solid waste. How is CalRecycle going to get fees if tipping goes down due to diversion?

Draft Regulatory Revisions to Title 14 and 27

CalRecycle is working on draft text for revising the Composting regulations. Two key topics are food definition and land application. For the food definition, vegetative food needs to be defined. On land application, one issue is disposal vs. beneficial use. LEAs commented that it will be an issue if food waste is allowed in EA Notification. They preferred a Registration Tier, as a permit is required and an operation plan is needed.

Other LEA comments included:

  • There may be duplication of regulatory efforts between Local Enforcement Agency (LEA), Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCB), Air Districts, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).
  • Current regulations do not address small-scale composting of food material at community gardens, or associated with restaurants, cafeterias, and other businesses that provide food service to employees.
  • Clarify “processing” in agricultural material definition, looking to revise the definition by specifying agricultural material has not been processed in a way that alters its essential character as a waste resulting directly from an agricultural activity. When additives like salt and sugar are added, it now falls into a vegetative definition. CalRecycle requested comments from LEAs.

Caltrans Sites

The management of Caltrans sites was a topic of discussion at the Spring Round Tables. Comments from CalRecycle and the various regions included:

Bay Area Region: Under transfer stations there are exclusionary options; if the LEA determines all issues are addressed by other Federal/State entities, then the Caltrans site can be excluded.

South Central Region: There are not that many Caltrans sites in the South Central region, no real issues to discuss.

Northern Region: All but two counties have excluded Caltrans sites.

North Central Region: Sites have to be inspected if they are taking mixed waste. We can only exempt them from an EA Notification. Some sites have combined, if waste is coming to a facility it’s regulated, if they pick-up waste and take to a transfer station then they are not regulated. You need a rationale if you are not regulating the Caltrans site.

Southern/South Western Region: Sites are under transfer processing regulations, EA Notification. Caltrans sites are still across the board; inspection frequency for EA Notification is based on their tier level. The LEA to make the determination seems onerous. Maybe appropriate to let jurisdictions decide, as jurisdictions differ across the state. There is concern with “concurred” language, it opens it up to CalRecycle determination; seems problematic, as there is not a lot of involvement with CalRecycle at those sites. If CalRecycle is going to get involved we would want CalRecycle to come down and inspect the sites. There is concern with LEA evaluations. There is nothing in the regulations that say we can’t do inspections more often. This is something to discuss at the next EAC meeting.

As a result of questions raised regarding interpretation of regulations and the LEA’s role and responsibility addressing various Caltrans sites across the state, CalRecycle includes the links below to assist LEAs with interpreting regulations governing Caltrans sites within their region:

Proposed Legislation

CalRecycle staff provided a brief update to the Round Tables on the following legislation:

  • AB 1647 (Gordon) Solid waste: waste tires: enforcement – Current law requires the Attorney General, at the request of CalRecycle, to petition the appropriate superior court for the issuance of an injunction if the person fails to comply with the cleanup or abatement order. The current formal hearing process has a 6 month backlog, and this bill would streamline the appeal process and allow an informal hearing at CalRecycle.
  • AB 2257 (Achadjian) Nuisance: landfill activities – Provides that no management activity, operation, or facility, that has been in operation for more than 3 years and has been conducted in a manner consistent with proper and accepted customs and standards, shall become a nuisance due to any changed condition in the locality if it was not a nuisance at the time it began.
  • AB 2670 Solid waste recycling: facilities – AB 341 clean-up bill. Allows the following changes without requiring a permit revision (permit modification instead): non-disposal facility increasing the amount of solid waste that it may handle and that the increased amount is within existing capacity; a disposal facility may add a non-disposal activity to the facility.
  • SB 1118 (Hancock) Solid waste: used mattresses – Would require manufacturers of mattresses, on and after July 1, 2013, to establish and implement a program to collect and recycle used mattresses from consumers. The bill would authorize the manufacturer, in lieu of establishing the program, to remit, on a voluntary basis, to CalRecycle a payment of $25 for each mattress

LEA Training Master Schedule

CalRecycle developed state minimum standards training on Odor, with Phase I of the training conducted through an online workbook. CalRecycle is looking at developing Permitting 101 in an online format, for future training.

CalRecycle will host a Technical Training Series in Sacramento, California at the Sacramento Convention Center November 5 through November 8, 2012. CalRecycle established a Steering Committee of stakeholders that will identify sessions and topic goals for the event.

LEA Equipment Loan Program

CalRecycle reviewed the “LEA Equipment Loan Program” with each region and provided a handout, which identified program specifics and contact information. This program is a service offered to the LEAs to assist with equipment repair and loan equipment during a repair.  

Please note: Past meeting agendas and notes are retained for historical purposes. Over time, some information and links on these pages may become dated and/or inaccurate.

Last updated: November 16, 2012
LEA Roundtables, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/LEA/RoundTables/
Leta Forland: Leta.Forland@calrecycle.ca.gov (916) 341-6395