Chapter 173-350 WAC
Solid Waste Handling Standards
"Solid Waste Handling Standards," Chapter 173-350 of the Washington Administrative Code, is a regulation addressing waste management issues as diverse as used tires, surface impoundments, and incineration. These rules govern how individuals, businesses and governments can handle solid waste, what materials can be recycled, when permits are required, and a host of other issues.
The regulations in the Solid Waste Handling Standards are of particular interest to local health departments in Washington, which are charged with overseeing waste management in their communities, and to operators of landfills, recycling and compost facilities and other solid waste management facilities.
Except for sections addressing the management of organic wastes, the rules in Chapter 173-350 WAC have not been updated since 2003. Ecology received feedback from regulated entities, staff, and other interested parties on areas of the rule that needed to be updated or clarified. Ecology determined that a comprehensive review and update of the Solid Waste Handling Standards was needed to resolve questions and issues.
In this general update, Ecology began considering substantive changes to many sections of the rule, as well as many minor clarifications and corrections. Updating the rule will allow Ecology to address emerging issues, look for ways to improve its effectiveness and get feedback from stakeholders.
In late 2010, Ecology was in the process of revising the solid waste handling rules when Governor Christine Gregoire issued an executive order limiting rule development by state agencies. Ecology suspended rulemaking on this chapter, except for amendments concerning the management of organic wastes (now sections 220, 225, and 250 of the rule).
Ecology formally announced it would resume rulemaking on Chapter 173-350 WAC in November 2013. Based on work done before rulemaking was suspended, Ecology identified areas of the rule where we believed stakeholder workgroups would be especially helpful. Agency lead staff formed workgroups, and worked with stakeholders to discuss potential rule revisions beginning in the spring of 2014. At the end of June 2016, Ecology released preliminary draft revisions to rule language, followed by a series of day-long workshops to walk stakeholders through major changes and answer questions. We accepted comments into September 2016, then updated the preliminary rule and released a second draft of the rule for further review into February of 2017.
Ecology did not open sections 220, 225, and 250 pertaining to the management of organic waste for revision. Ecology will propose some clarifications and changes in these sections to ensure consistency with other parts of the rule. We do not believe these changes have a material effect on interpretation or application of those sections. Organics stakeholders are especially encouraged to review these changes.
Ecology is continuing to review feedback from stakeholders and plans to propose revisions to the rule in November 2017, followed by public hearings in mid- to late-January 2018. The Legislature included a proviso in Ecology's operating budget for the 2017 - 2019 biennium requiring a report on the status of this rulemaking. We expect the report to be available to the Legislature in September 2017, and we will post it to our website at that time.