CalRecycle Exemptions for Composting

 
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This section of the toolkit is included as a quick reference for planners who want to see activities that are already excluded at the state level. These methods, situational dynamics and volume thresholds have been carefully vetted through stakeholder meetings and analysis, and the resultant exemptions represent low risk, innocuous activities that should be considered for local land use exemption as well. Key exemptions are in bold italic

CalRecycle Title 14 rules have been updated in response to changes in resource management, state initiatives and regulations requiring an increase in composting and diversion of compostable materials from the landfill. Local zoning and land use rules are best when in sync, and not duplicative of existing regulations that exist at the state level, especially when reducing carbon emissions and improvement of quality of life for residents is at stake. 

CalRecycle Composting Exclusions

Title 14, Chapter 3.1, Section 17855. Excluded Activities.

(a) Except as provided otherwise in this Chapter, the activities listed in this section do not constitute compostable material handling operations or facilities and are not required to meet the requirements set forth herein. Nothing in this section precludes the EA or the Department from inspecting an excluded activity to verify that the activity is being conducted in a manner that qualifies as an excluded activity or from taking any appropriate enforcement action.

(1) An activity is excluded if it handles agricultural material derived from an agricultural site, and returns a similar amount of the material produced to that same agricultural site, or an agricultural site owned or leased by the owner, parent, or subsidiary of the composting activity. No more than an incidental amount of up to 1,000 cubic yards of compost product may be given away or sold annually.

(2) Vermicomposting is an excluded activity. The handling of compostable material prior to and after its use as a growth medium during the vermicomposting process is not an excluded activity and is subject to the requirements of this chapter or the Transfer/Processing Operations and Facilities Regulatory Requirements (Title 14, California Code of Regulations, Division 7, Chapter 3, Article 6.0-6.35), whichever is applicable, as follows:

(A) when the compostable material is active compost or is likely to become active compost, as determined by the EA, the requirements of this chapter apply;

(B) at all other times when it is not being used as a growth medium during vermicomposting, the compostable material is subject to the Transfer/Processing Operations and Facilities Regulatory Requirements.

(3) Mushroom farming is an excluded activity. The handling of compostable material prior to and after its use as a growth medium during the mushroom farming process is not an excluded activity and is subject to the requirements of this chapter or the Transfer/Processing Operations and Facilities Regulatory Requirements (Title 14, California Code of Regulations, Division 7, Chapter 3, Article 6.0-6.35), whichever is applicable, as follows:

(A) when the compostable material is active compost or is likely to become active compost, as determined by the EA, the requirements of this chapter apply;

(B) at all other times when it is not being used as a growth medium during mushroom farming, the compostable material is subject to the Transfer/Processing Operations and Facilities Regulatory Requirements.

(4) Composting green material, agricultural material, food material, and vegetative food material, alone or in combination, is an excluded activity if the total amount of feedstock and compost on-site at any one time does not exceed 100 cubic yards and 750 square feet. [Note: Persons handling compostable material under the above exclusion are obligated to obtain all permits, licenses, or other clearances that may be required by other regulatory agencies including, but not limited to local health entities and local land use authorities.]

(5) The handling of compostable materials is an excluded activity if:

(A) the activity is located at a facility (i.e., landfill or transfer/processing facility) that has a tiered or full permit as defined in section 18101,

1.     has a Report of Facility Information which is completed and submitted to the EA that identifies and describes the activity and meets the requirements of Titles 14 or 27; and,

2.     will only use the material on the facility site, or

(B) the activity is solely for the temporary storage of biosolids sludge at a Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW), or

(C) the activity is located at the site of biomass conversion and is for use in biomass conversion as defined in Public Resources Code section 40106; or

(D) the activity is part of a silvicultural operation or a wood, paper, or wood product manufacturing operation; or

(E) the activity is part of an agricultural operation and is used to temporarily store or process agricultural material not used in the production of compost or mulch; or

(F) the activity is part of an operation used to chip and grind materials derived from and applied to lands owned or leased by the owner, parent, or subsidiary of the operation; or

(G) the activity is part of an agricultural operation used to chip and grind agricultural material produced on lands owned or leased by the owner, parent, or subsidiary of the agricultural operation, for use in biomass conversion; or

(H) the activity is part of a licensed animal food manufacturing or a licensed rendering operation.

(I) the activity is the storage of yard trimmings at a publicly designated site for the collection of lot clearing necessary for fire protection provided that the public agency designating the site has notified the fire protection agency; or

(J) the materials are handled in such a way to preclude their reaching temperatures at or above 122 degrees Fahrenheit as determined by the EA; or

(6) Storage of bagged products from compostable material is an excluded activity provided that such bags are no greater than 5 cubic yards.

Authority cited: Section 40502, 43020 and 43021, Public Resources Code.
Reference: Sections 43020 and 43021, Public Resources Code.

 

CalRecycle In-Vessel Exclusions

Title 14, Chapter 3.2, Section 17896.6. Excluded Activities.

(a) The activities listed in this section are not subject to the in-vessel digestion requirements set forth in this Chapter. Nothing in this section precludes the EA or the Department from inspecting an excluded activity to verify that the activity is being conducted in a manner that qualifies as an excluded activity or from taking any appropriate enforcement action.

(1) A Publicly Owned Treatment Works Treatment Plant (POTW Treatment Plant), as defined in section 403.3(r) of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, that receives vehicle-transported solid waste that is an anaerobically digestible material for the purpose of anaerobic co-digestion with POTW Treatment Plant wastewater, is excluded if several conditions are met (conditions provided in actual code).

 (2) In-vessel digestion of agricultural material derived from an agricultural site and the digestate or compost produced from digestate is returned to that same agricultural site, or an agricultural site owned or leased by the owner, parent, or subsidiary of the agricultural site on which the in-vessel digester is located. No more than an incidental amount of up to 1,000 cubic yards of compost produced from digestate may be given away or sold annually. Digestate that is not composted may not be given away or sold.

(3) In-vessel digestion at a dairy involving the co-digestion of manure with agricultural material derived on-site, imported agricultural material, and/or imported vegetative food material in accordance with Waste Discharge Requirements issued by a Regional Water Quality Control Board.

(A) Any imported materials delivered to the dairy must be pumped or off-loaded directly into a covered, leak-proof container and then pumped, or diluted or slurried and then pumped, and co-digested in an in-vessel digester at a dairy. The pumped material may be screened, otherwise separated or treated prior to in-vessel digestion, but must be processed and conveyed in a contained system. Any separated material at the dairy that is not suitable for in-vessel digestion and has no beneficial use shall be further managed as a solid waste.

(B) No more than an incidental amount of up to 1,000 cubic yards of compost produced from digestate may be given away or sold annually. Digestate that is not composted may not be given away or sold.

(4) In-vessel digestion activities with less than a total of 100 cubic yards of solid waste, feedstock, and digestate on-site are excluded.

(5) Rendering activities, authorized by the California Department of Food and Agriculture pursuant to section 19300 of the Food and Agricultural Code, in which no solid waste feedstock bypasses the rendering process.

(6) Other discrete handling activities that are already subject to more stringent handling requirements under Federal or State law, as determined by the EA in consultation with the Department, are excluded.

Authority cited: Sections 40502, 43020, and 43021, Public Resources Code.
Reference: Sections 43020 and 43021, Public Resources Code.