Permitting Compostable Material Handling Operations and Facilities
This page provides information and resources for obtaining approval to operate a compostable material handling operation or facility. This page is not meant to be a substitute for the full text of the regulations or statute.
The resources on this page reflect the Compostable Materials Handling Operations and Facilities Regulatory Requirements adopted on April 4, 2003.
The mammalian tissue composting regulations became effective in April 2008, which:
- Allow onsite composting of mammalian tissue when associated with research designed to obtain data, and
- Authorize an enforcement agency to waive state minimum standards associated with a locally-approved temporary composting activity during a declared emergency.
What is a Compostable Material Handling Operation or Facility?
"Compost" means the product resulting from the controlled biological decomposition of organic wastes that are source separated from the municipal solid waste stream, or which are separated at a centralized facility. "Compost" includes vegetable, yard, and wood wastes which are not hazardous waste. Public Resources Code (PRC) Section 40116
"Compostable Material Handling Operation Facility" means an operation or facility that processes, transfers, or stores compostable materials. Handling of compostable materials results in controlled biological decomposition. Handling includes composting, screening, chipping and grinding, and storage activities related to the production of compost, compost feedstocks, and chipped and ground materials. "Compostable Materials Handling Operation or Facility" does not include activities excluded from regulation in Section 17855. "Compostable Materials Handling Operation or Facility" also includes (A) agricultural material composting operations; (B) green material composting operations and facilities; (C) research composting operations; and (D) chipping and grinding operations and facilities. Title 14 Section 17852(a)(12)
"Compostable Material" means any organic material that when accumulated will become active compost as defined in Section 17852(a)(1). Title 14 Section 17852(a)(11)
"Active Compost" means compost feedstock that is in the process of being rapidly decomposed and is unstable. Active compost is generating temperatures of at least 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) during decomposition; or is releasing carbon dioxide at a rate of at least 15 milligrams per gram of compost per day, or the equivalent of oxygen uptake. Title 14 Section 17852(a)(1)
“Anaerobic Digestion” may be regulated like composting. Anaerobic digestion (which is sometimes labeled as a conversion technology) actually fits within the definition of composting. PRC section 40200(b)(3) and the 3-part test do not apply to the handling of compostable material as the definition assumes that the material being handled has already been separated. Sites using Anaerobic Digestion would potentially be regulated under the CIWMB compostable material handling regulations depending upon the nature of their feedstock and how it is being handled. Title 14 Section 17850 et seq
PRC 40116. "Compost" means the product resulting from the controlled biological decomposition of organic wastes that are source separated from the municipal solid waste stream, or which are separated at a centralized facility. "Compost" includes vegetable, yard, and wood wastes which are not hazardous.
Which permit tier is required for a compostable material handling sites?
The following resources are available to help determine which permit tier is appropriate for each type of site:
- Detailed Discussion Grid on Compostable Material Regulations (Word, 54 KB)
- Compost Permit Flowchart (Word, 57 KB)
- Permit Tier Placement Chart
- Anaerobic Digestion (Is it Compost or a Transfer Station?)
Permit Requirements Unique to Compostable Material Handling Sites
- As of April 4, 2003, the compost regulations no longer contain the standardized permit tier.
- Chipping and grinding operations and facilities are now specifically slotted into the regulatory permit tiers. - Title 14, Section 17862.1
- A Report of Compost Site Information (RCSI) is required for all compostable material handling facilities.
- An Odor Impact Minimization Plan (OIMP) is required for facilities and operations.
A Web site has been created to answer frequently asked questions about the implementation of the compost regulations.
Pre-Existing Permits and Notifications
Title 14, Section 17855.4 describes the process and timelines for operators with pre-existing registration or standardized permits or notifications to apply for the proper tier. This section also describes the process and timelines for activities that were previously excluded from the regulations in effect prior to April 4, 2003.
Regulations Summary--CIWMB Standards Pertaining to Compost
- Compost Permit Regulations--Title 14, Chapter 3.1
- State Minimum Operating and Design Standards--Title 14, Chapter 3.1, Article 5-Article 9
- Report of Compost Site Information (RCSI) Requirements--Title 14 Section 18227
- Odor Impact Minimization Plan (OIMP)--Title 14 Section 17863.4
- Scope and Definitions (Regulations)--Title 14, Chapter 3.1, Article 1, Section 17852
- Definitions (Statute)--PRC Sections 40116 and 40194
- Pre-existing Permits, Timelines to Obtain a Permit or Notification-Title 14 Section 17855.4
- Excluded Activities--Title 14 Section 17855
- Chipping and Grinding--Title 14 Section 17862.1
- Regulatory Tier Requirements--Title 14, Chapter 5, Article 3
- LEA Statute and Regulations Home Page
- Detailed discussion grid on compostable material regulations (Word, 54 KB)
- Compost Permit Flow Chart (Word, 57 KB)
- Frequently Asked Questions about the implementation of the compost regulations.
- Rulemaking archives for the revised Compost Regulations
- Permit Tier Placement Chart (including the new compost tiers)
- CEQA Document Preparation Guidelines for Composting Facilities
- Conformance Findings for Nondisposal Facilities
- California Department of Health Services (DHS) Report on Bioaerosols and Green-Waste Composting in California (1999)
- LEA Advisory No. 6: Aspergillus, Aspergillosis, and Composting Operations in California
- LEA Advisory No. 39: Issuance of Multiple (Tiered) Permits
- All-LEA Email: Fires at Compost Sites
- All-LEA Email: Composting Operations Regulatory Requirements
- Permit Application Forms
- Sample Compost Permits
- Compostable Materials
- CIWMB Organic Materials Management Home Page
- Food Scrap Composting Home Page
- Other local, state, or federal agencies which may also have regulatory authority over composting facilities and operations
Permit Toolbox, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/SWFacilities/Permitting/
Kevin Taylor: Kevin.Taylor@calrecycle.ca.gov (916) 341-6582