New rules for B.C. compost facilities

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The British Columbia Ministry of Environment is amending the organic matter recycling regulation (OMRR) to require permits for compost facilities that process food waste or biosolids.

Along with obtaining a permit, affected facilities must continue to comply with all the applicable requirements of the OMRR. This permitting process will further ensure that the OMRR is protective of human health and the environment. The new requirements take effect immediately.

Adding a permitting process will increase transparency and allow independent statutory decision makers to put conditions in place to better monitor compliance. Permit conditions will emphasize site-specific requirements to:

  • Reduce environmental impacts;
  • Address and reduce impacts from odour; and
  • Address concerns regarding public notification under OMRR.

Facilities with capacity to produce over 5,000 tonnes of compost per year have 60 days to apply for a permit and pay the one-time $200 application fee. Once a permit is approved, there is an additional $100 annual fee for permitted facilities.

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If operators fail to apply for a permit within 60 days or fail to comply with permit conditions, enforcement action may be taken under the Environmental Management Act.

Facilities that are part of a regional district’s approved solid waste management plan and already have a ministry-issued operational certificate will not require a permit.

A comprehensive review of OMRR is underway with a policy intentions paper slated to be released for public comment and feedback in fall 2016. Subsequent amendments, based on all engagement and information received, will be made in 2017.

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