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Beneficial Use Determination

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Beneficial Use Determination (BUD)?

A "Beneficial Use Determination" is a statewide exemption from the solid waste permitting requirements of Chapter 173-350 WAC. It reflects an Ecology assessment that a proposed use of a non-hazardous solid waste in a specific manner approved by the department presents little or no risk to human health or the environment. Regulations specify conditions that must be met in order to maintain an exempt status and Ecology has the authority to place additional terms and conditions on a BUD that ensure an appropriate level of environmental protection.

How do I apply?

Persons interested in applying for a BUD can access forms here. Forms can also be obtained by contacting Ecology at (360) 407-6000 or by going to the "Contact Us" button on the menu bar and e-mailing a request to the department. Once an application and environmental checklist are received, Ecology will make an initial review to determine suitability of the proposal and if additional information is required from the applicant. The applicant will be notified in writing once an application is determined to be complete. Notification will include a date by which a final decision will be made. Once an application has been determined to be complete and a 45 day comment period has passed, Ecology has an additional 45 days to make a final determination whether or not to approve a proposal.

What is the review process?

Once determined to be complete, an application and accompanying information will be forwarded to each jurisdictional health department in the state for a forty-five day review period. Additionally, persons who have registered for notices and representatives of the solid waste industry will be informed of the comment period and be provided details on where applications can be reviewed and how to submit comments. After consideration of all comments from the public and jurisdictional health departments and review of available information, Ecology will decide whether or not to approve the application.

What effect does a BUD have on compliance with other rules and ordinances?

None. It is the obligation of a person managing a solid waste under a beneficial use determination to ensure the activities approved by Ecology are compliant with all other applicable federal, state, and local regulations, ordinances, land use rules, etc.

Are other methods available to exempt uses of solid waste from permitting?

Current solid waste regulations lists certain wastes and uses of waste not subject to the regulations and addresses management practices not subject to permitting for other types of wastes. Also, the Washington State Legislature directed Ecology to develop rules describing when jurisdictional health departments can propose to defer solid waste permitting to other environmental permits which offer an equal or greater level of environmental protection than that achieved by a solid waste permit. Ecology also has the authority to exempt, by rule, uses of certain solid wastes it determines present no threat to human health or the environment. During the process to revise state solid waste regulations Ecology focused on development of the application process required for BUDs. A section has been reserved in WAC 173-350-200 for future development of a list of BUDs authorized in statute.

How long is a beneficial use determination valid?

A beneficial use determination is valid as long as the exemption holder operates in compliance with established rules and exemption conditions and as long as the nature and characteristics of the waste remain consistent with that originally proposed for relief from permitting. Ecology maintains the right to revoke a beneficial use determination if it finds that the terms and conditions of the exemption or regulatory requirements are not being met, if the department determines that the exemption was obtained by misrepresenting or omitting information that potentially could have altered the department's initial decision on the beneficial use determination application, or if new information becomes available indicating that management of a waste under the approved BUD is no longer appropriate.

If a different generator produces a waste similar to and useful for the same purpose as one already approved by Ecology, do I have to apply for a separate BUD?

Yes. Approvals of beneficial use application by the department are granted solely to the original applicant. If a waste generator believes they have a material similar in character to a material already approved, they must apply to the department for a beneficial use determination for exemption.