Solid Waste Facilities and the Permitting Process
What Types of Solid Waste Facilities are Permitted?
Many facility types require solid waste permits in Washington State. The majority of the facilities are
chapter 70.95 RCW
, Solid Waste Management.
Specific requirements are found in regulations as follows:
Chapter 173-306 WAC
, Special Incinerator Ash
, applies to ash monofills.
Chapter 173-351 WAC
, Criteria for
Municipal Solid Waste Landfills
, contains permit requirements for municipal solid waste landfills. Go to
Municipal Solid Waste Landfills
for more information.
Chapter 173-350 WAC
, Solid Waste Handling
, contains permit requirements for :
- Anaerobic Digesters
- Limited purpose landfills
- Inert waste landfills
- Transfer stations and drop boxes
- Compost facilities
- Land application sites
- Pile storage and treatment
- Surface impoundments
- Waste tire storage facilities
- Moderate risk waste facilities
- Recycling and material recovery facilities
- Energy recovery facilities and incinerators
Find lists of solid waste facilities in Washington in
maintained by the Waste 2
Who Writes the Regulations for Solid Waste Facilities?
The Department of Ecology, per RCW 70.95.060, is directed to write minimum standards for solid waste
handling. Jurisdictional health departments (JHDs) have primary oversight of solid waste facilities
and issue permits and enforce the standards. Under RCW 70.95.160, JHDs must adopt regulations that may
be more stringent than the state's “minimum” standards. For anyone planning to handle solid waste, it
is important to contact the JHD where the facility is located to discuss standards, permitting and
What is the Permitting Process for Solid Waste Facilities?
- Jurisdictional health departments (JHDs) are the
permitting entities in Washington State. A facility can obtain a permit application from the JHD for the
county in which the facility is located. Many JHDs use the permit application form created by the Department
of Ecology (Ecology) and found on the
Solid Waste Facility Forms page. Besides filling out the form, a
complete permit application will typically include design, operating, environmental monitoring and closure
plans. Contact the JHD to see what permit fees to submit with permit applications.
After a facility submits two complete applications to the JHD, the JHD must submit one copy to Ecology.
Ecology has 45 days to recommend for or against issuance of a solid waste permit to the JHD. Ecology has
only review authority, not permit approval. The JHD has 90 days after receiving the complete application
to decide if the facility conforms to solid waste and other laws and regulations, and to the local
comprehensive solid waste management plan.
Once a JHD issues a solid waste permit, it must submit a copy of the permit to Ecology within seven days.
Ecology has 30 days to review the permit and can appeal its issuance to the Pollution Control Hearings
Board as described in chapter 43.21B RCW.
Permit application process and requirements are found in
WAC 173-350-710 and
WAC 173-350-715 and, for municipal
solid waste landfills,
- All permit applications must include proof that it meets requirements of the State Environmental
Policy Act, chapter 197-11 WAC, SEPA Rules. The JHD can provide appropriate contacts for this.
- Some facilities require proof of financial assurance before they can start operating.
Financial assurance is required for municipal solid waste landfills, limited
purpose landfills, waste tire facilities and moderate risk waste facilities that store more than nine
thousand gallons of MRW on-site, excluding used oil.
Chapter 173-350 WAC
, Solid Waste Handling Standards
, allows for a "Permit Deferral" under
. The jurisdictional
health department, at its discretion and with the concurrence of the Department of Ecology, can waive the
requirement for a solid waste permit if other air, water or environmental permits issued for a facility will
provide an equivalent or superior level of environmental protection. A facility can apply for a permit
deferral using the
Permit Deferral Form
Exemptions from Solid Waste Permitting
- Chapter 173-350 WAC, Solid Waste Handling
Standards, does not require solid waste permits for some facilities, as long as they meet certain
conditions. These facilities include recycling, material recovery, composting, piles of agricultural,
inert or wood waste, and some moderate risk waste handling activities. Consult applicable sections of
chapter 173-350 WAC to see if your facility will
be able to meet the conditions for exemption or contact Department of Ecology (Ecology)
- Under chapter 173-350 WAC, Solid Waste
Handling Standards, Ecology can grant a beneficial use exemption from the permit requirements for
uses of solid waste. Find more information at Beneficial
In contrast to permitted facilities, which are overseen by jurisdictional health departments, Ecology has
direct oversight for permit-exempt facilities.
State-Issued Solid Waste Permits and Certifications
- The Department of Ecology (Ecology) directly issues permits for
ash monofills that receive ash from municipal solid waste energy recovery facilities per
chapter 173-306 WAC, Special Incinerator Ash
- Chapter 70.95D RCW, Solid Waste
Incinerator and Landfill Operators, requires that landfill and incinerator operators and inspectors be
certified. Ecology wrote
chapter 173-300 WAC,
Certification of Operators of Solid Waste Incinerator Landfill Facilities. For
information, refer to the Enviornmental Permit Handbook sections of
Certification of Operators of Solid Waste Incinerators and Landfill Facilities, and
Certification of Inspectors of Solid Waste Incinerators and Landfill Facilities.
- Ecology oversees regulation of biosolids
when treated, processed, stored or used. Biosolids are not
regulated under solid waste regulations, but under
chapter 70.95J RCW, Municipal Sewage
Sludge - Biosolids, and
chapter 173-308 WAC, Biosolids Management.
- Anyone engaged in the business of transporting waste tires is required to obtain a waste tire carrier
license from the Washington State Department of Licensing. Go to
Waste Tire Carrier and Storage Site Licenses for additional information.