California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Permit Toolbox: CEQA

Compost Facility Outline for Environmental Review Documents

Negative Declarations, Mitigated Negative Declarations, and EIRs

This outline was developed by California Integrated Waste Management Board staff as a guide to Lead Agencies in the preparation of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) documentation, and to Responsible Agencies for their review of documentation for the construction and/or operation of a solid waste disposal facility requiring a full solid waste facility permit (SWFP) or a Standardized SWFP, under the CIWMB Regulatory Tiered Permit framework. All of the information is pertinent to the processing and issuance of a full SWFP, or a Standardized SWFP, and is of great benefit if discussed fully in an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) or at an appropriate level of detail in a Negative Declaration (ND) or Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) developed for the issuance or revision of a SWFP.

This outline is intended to assist the Lead Agency in the identification and consideration of issues that the Lead Agency might wish to address in the preparation of their environmental documents (ED), at the Lead Agency's discretion. This is not a list of issues that the CIWMB will require to be addressed in order to deem the ED adequate for CIWMB approval purposes. The appropriate level of detail for an ED should be determined by early consultation and cooperation between the Lead Agency, local enforcement agency (LEA) and other Responsible Agencies, and is at the discretion of the Lead Agency.

I. General Background Information

  1. Project Location (including Township, Range and APN where appropriate)
  2. Owner and operator of the facility (property owner if different)
  3. Name and registration number of site design engineer
  4. Need for project
  5. Service projections for the life of the facility taking into account AB 939 waste diversion mandates
  6. Existing facilities
  7. Regional map/ Surrounding Area map
  8. Conformance to Waste Management Plan (compliance with PRC Section 50000)
  9. Designation in General Plan (compliance with PRC Section 50000.5)
  10. Initial Study and environmental checklist

II. Project Description

  1. Site Description
    • topographical map
    • size of site (acres)
    • site design, including but not limited to site/layout map, active compost area, feedstock storage areas, well locations, drainage features, and property boundaries
    • total site capacity for active compost (in cubic yards)
    • average and maximum quantity of individual types of feedstock processed in tpd (green material, manure, MSW, wood chips, special waste etc.)
    • maximum quantities of active compost, feedstocks, amendments, and additives on hand at one time (in cubic yards)
    • sources of individual types of waste received daily
    • expected facility life span
    • current land use
    • historic land use
    • current zoning
    • detailed environmental setting, including but not limited to climatological factors, physical setting, ground and surface water, soils, surrounding land use
    • classification of disposal site if sited on a landfill (SWFP #)
    • type of users of the site (commercial, public, private)
    • construction description (e.g. grading plan, drainage plan)
    • list of approvals required by federal, state and local agencies in order to implement project
  2. Design and Operations
    • verification of compliance with USEPA, California Department of Health Services, Department of Toxic Substances Control, Air Pollution Control District or Air Quality Management District, Regional Water Control Board, Integrated Waste Management Board, and State Minimum Standards for solid waste handling and disposal requirements.
    • method of composting
      • construction
      • windrow, static, "in vessel"
      • forced air, mechanical
      • maximum height, length and width, spacing
      • typical operation cycle, processing time for each phase
      • evaporative emissions (volatiles)
      • type of emission
      • rate of production
    • additives
      • type, amount and application method
      • chemical (e.g. fertilizer)
      • bulking agent
      • microbial
    • monitoring
      • feedstock types
        • type of test
        • frequency
        • responsible party
        • reporting method
      • provisions for handling unacceptable feedstock
      • process (composting material)
        • type of test (temperature, moisture)
        • frequency
        • responsible party
        • reporting method
      • leachate
        • type of test (metals, pathogens, nitrogen)
        • frequency
        • responsible party
        • reporting method
      • product
        • type of test (metals, pathogens, nitrogen)
        • frequency
        • responsible party
        • reporting method
    • water supply
      • source, well or municipal, sufficiency
        • to piles, windrows
        • to grinders
        • to mixers
        • for fire suppression
        • for drinking supply
    • waste characterization
    • equipment
      • number and types
      • emissions
      • stand-by equipment availability, number and type of equipment
    • operating days and hours (days/week, hours/day, start stop times)
      • describe the operating cycle of the facility including hours waste is received, windrows are turned, product is removed
    • traffic number and type of vehicles
      • access routes (ingress/egress)
      • unloading
      • on-site roads
      • public and commercial routing
      • number and types of vehicles entering and leaving the site per day
      • modifications required during inclement weather
      • emissions
    • provisions for site security (fencing, gates, police or security protection)
    • fire controls
      • nearest fire department
      • on-site
    • vector controls
    • litter controls
    • odor controls
    • dust controls
    • noise and vibration control provisions
      • noise levels generated by the project (construction and operation)
      • vibration levels generated by the project (construction and operation)
    • weight scales
    • product storage
      • volume
      • time
      • location
      • handling
    • leachate containment
      • low permeability barrier, pad liner
        • material type
        • availability
        • permeability, moisture content
      • collection and containment system
      • recirculation plan
    • erosion controls
    • sedimentation controls, such as siltation basins and location of such controls
    • drainage facilities (run-on and run-off)
      • drainage plan (can be included with site map)
    • method of handling special wastes (liquids, sludge, white goods)
    • method of handling incidental hazardous waste
      • exclusion
      • storage
      • removal
    • number of employees and duties
    • site improvements
      • drinking water (well, municipal, bottled)
      • sanitary facilities
      • communications
      • electrical provisions
      • office building
    • risk of upset
      • contingency plan
      • public health and safety
      • employee health and safety

III. Existing Environment

  1. Climate
    • average precipitation
      • seasonal
      • annual
    • seasonal temperature range
    • wind conditions (windrose)
      • direction
      • velocity
    • evaporation rate
      • seasonal
      • annual
  2. Air
    • baseline air quality data (attainment status)
    • existing emissions
      • landfill equipment
      • hauling vehicles
      • other emission sources
    • project emissions
      • landfill equipment
      • hauling vehicles
      • other emission sources
      • dust including PM-10 data for project construction operations
    • landfill gas emissions
    • leachate evaporation
    • odor
  3. Surface water
    • existing surface waters (streams, rivers, etc.)
    • drainage courses
    • average seasonal flows
    • greatest anticipated 24 hour or 6 day rainfall amount
    • beneficial uses of waters
    • water quality analyses
    • watershed characteristics
  4. Subsurface water
    • existing subsurface water (aquifer, aquiclude, etc.)
    • beneficial uses of waters
    • water quality analyses (site specific tests)
    • location of wells within one mile of site
    • depth to groundwater (from site specific tests)
  5. Geology
    • description of subsurface strata (in place)
    • soils
      • unified soil classification (CH, OH, etc.)
      • soil texture, percent passing through #200 sieve
      • liquid limits
      • plasticity index
      • permeability of soils (field samples)
    • seismicity
      • estimate of seismic risk to the site (faults underlying the site, distance to nearest fault, maximum probable earthquake (MPE), maximum ground acceleration (MGA) of fault, etc.)
      • liquefaction potential
      • differential settlement potential
      • boring logs (include locations)
    • mineral deposits (including gavels)
  6. Land
    • description of site surface
    • maximum slope on the site
    • slope stability
  7. Flora
    • description of site flora
    • vegetation which will be permanently removed
    • relation between vegetation and slope stability and erodability
    • rare and endangered flora (including takes)
  8. Fauna
    • description of site fauna
    • resident population of rodents and other potential vectors
    • rare and endangered fauna (including takes)
  9. Noise
    • local noise ordinance criteria
    • background noise levels at and adjacent to site
    • location of noise receptors (residents, schools, hospitals)
  10. Social
    • growth inducement
  11. Land use compatibility
    • zoning
    • adjacent land use
    • distance to nearest residences
  12. Plan consistency
    • general plan
    • regional plan (CIWMP)
  13. Historical/Cultural
    • archaeological sites
    • historical sites
    • cultural sites
  14. Traffic
    • existing traffic conditions
  15. Aesthetics (compatible with specific general plan policies or viewshed ordinances)

IV. Project related impacts to the following environmental assessment areas and/or cumulative impacts and significant impacts remaining after mitigation

  1. Climate
  2. Air
  3. Water
    • surface
    • subsurface
  4. Geology
  5. Land
  6. Flora
  7. Fauna
  8. Noise
  9. Social
  10. Historical/Cultural
  11. Traffic
  12. Aesthetics (compatible with specific general plan policies or viewshed ordinances)

V. Alternatives (if required)

  1. Review of alternative locations
  2. Other alternatives (e.g. reduced project)
  3. No project

VI. Executive Summary

  1. Summary of project and consequences
  2. Impacts, mitigation measures and alternatives (table, outline)
  3. Areas of controversy
  4. Resolution of issues

VII. Organizations and people consulted

  1. Public response
  2. Public meetings (date and time)
  3. Contributors to report (names and qualifications)
  4. Persons consulted

VIII. Mitigation Reporting or Monitoring Program (table)

  1. Identification of impacts
  2. Identification of mitigation measures
  3. Implementation schedule
  4. Monitoring frequency
  5. Responsible party
  6. Enforcement method
  7. Conflict resolution plan
  8. Compliance with AB 314 and SB 749

CIWMB California Environmental Quality Act Review

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance is required for the establishment, expansion, or change in operation(s) of a Solid Waste Facility (SWF) requiring the issuance or revision of a full Solid Waste Facility Permit (SWFP) or Standardized Permit.

Under CEQA Guidelines, CCR Section 15096, the CIWMB acting as a Responsible Agency, is required to use the environmental document (ED) prepared by the Lead Agency in the CIWMB permit approval or concurrence process.  Once the ED is completed by the Lead Agency, CIWMB staff, as a Responsible Agency, must determine whether or not the evaluation of potential environmental impacts assessed in the ED is adequate for CIWMB use in the permitting process.

The purpose of CIWMB staff's review of an ED, during the preparation of the document, is to help decision-makers 1) identify potential impacts from proposed projects, 2) determine whether any such impacts are significant, and 3) ascertain whether significant impacts can be mitigated to a level of insignificance in compliance with the CEQA statutes and guidelines.  In order for CIWMB staff to ascertain that the ED is adequate for our use in the permitting process, the proposed project must be described in sufficient detail and the potential environmental impacts that may result from the proposed project must be identified and evaluated clearly in the environmental assessment and offer "mitigating measures, if any, included in the project to avoid potentially significant effects" (CEQA Guidelines, Article 6, Section 15071[e]).

If the Lead Agency identifies a potential significant environmental impact but finds that the impact is less than significant or that no mitigation is available or necessary, supporting documentation and/or studies should be specifically referenced and be made available for review or included in the ED to support such analysis.

CEQA Analysis and SWFP Conditions

CEQA Guidelines (CCR) Section 15063(a)(1) states that:  "All phases of project planning, implementation and operation must be considered in the Initial Study of the project." This consideration, when evaluating for a SWFP revision, should consider the potential environmental impacts of any changes in design and operation of the facility that were not specifically considered in the existing SWFP.

When determining the adequacy of an ED for purposes of SWFP concurrence, CIWMB staff will compare the design and operation of the facility as described in the SWFP with the project as described and evaluated in the ED.  The first question is:  does the CEQA evaluation for potential impacts resulting from the project thoroughly assess the potential primary and secondary impacts to the environment and/or public health and safety?  The second question is:  does the CEQA evaluation in the ED support the conditions of the proposed permit?  For instance, does the ED also assess the potential traffic, noise, dust, vector and other impacts that can be associated with a significant increase in permitted waste throughput requested in a SWFP?  When this type of information is included and addressed in the ED, the CEQA process is greatly facilitated.  When this type of information is not included in the project description or elsewhere in the ED, it becomes very difficult for CIWMB staff to determine the adequacy of the ED for purposes of our environmental evaluation.

Last updated: April 5, 2005
Permit Toolbox,
Kevin Taylor: (916) 341-6582