Chapter 173-350 WAC
Solid Waste Handling Standards


An informal draft of the rule is available for public comment through February 8, 2017. It is located on our documents page.

Some revisions are proposed to sections 220, 225, and 250 pertaining to the management of organic waste. Proposed revisions are for clarity and consistency with changes in the rest of the rule. Ecology does not believe these changes have a material effect on interpretation or application of the rule requirements in those sections. Organics stakeholders are especially encouraged to review these changes.

Except for sections addressing the management of organic wastes, the rules in Chapter 173-350 WAC have not been updated since 2003. In the interim, Ecology received feedback from regulated entities, staff, and other interested parties on areas of the rule that needed to be updated or clarified. Based on this feedback, Ecology determined that a comprehensive review and update of the Solid Waste Handling Standards was needed.

At the end of June 2016 we released preliminary draft revisions to rule language, and held a series of day-long workshops to walk stakeholders through major changes and answer questions. We asked stakeholders to submit comments on the preliminary draft by early September.

We received some very good feedback that highlighted stakeholder concerns, and identified areas where the draft language could be improved. Waste 2 Resources Program staff made further revisions to the draft rule, and a general response to comments has been prepared. It is posted along with the latest version of the draft rule on our documents page. Ecology will accept comments on the latest draft through February 8, 2017. We plan to issue a formal rule proposal in May of 2017.

Why it matters

"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 many other technical details. The regulations in the Solid Waste Handling Standards are of particular interest to local health departments in Washington, who oversee waste management in their communities, and to operators of landfills, recycling and compost facilities and other solid waste management facilities.

In late 2010, Ecology was in the process of revising the solid waste handling rules when then-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). Because of this, most of the rule has not been revised since it was adopted in 2003. This rulemaking picks up where the previous effort left off. In this general update, Ecology is considering substantive changes to many sections of the rule, as well as making many minor clarifications and corrections. Updating the rule allows Ecology to address emerging issues, look for ways to improve its effectiveness and get feedback from stakeholders.

Scope of rule development

There are many changes to the rule relating to organization, and for the purpose of improving clarity. Two new sections are added, and one existing section is deleted. Some revisions have been proposed to sections 220, 225, and 250 pertaining to the management of organic wastes for clarity and consistency with changes in the rest of the rule. Ecology does not believe these changes have a material effect on interpretation or application of the rules in those sections. Below is a brief summary of sections with more substantial changes. For more information, click on the link to each section and you will be taken to a Focus sheet. It is important to also read the text of the revised rule since that more completely reflects the changes that may be made during the rulemaking.

WAC 173-350-021 – Determination of Solid Waste (previously Section 110)
The language in this proposed new section is intended to gain both consistency and clarity in the determination of whether or not something is a solid waste. This new section has three main goals: create a framework for more consistent decision-making, clarify when a material qualifies as solid waste, and differentiate wastes from products.

WAC 173-350-200 – Beneficial Use Permit Exemptions
Proposed language allows consideration of alternative intermediate storage during the application review process, and makes clear that evidence of performance must accompany an application for a beneficial use determination. Proposed changes also update the public involvement process to reflect current technology, and incorporate a new requirement for review by the Washington State Department of Agriculture that was added to RCW 70.95 during the 2016 legislative section.

WAC 173-350-210 - Recycling
Sections 210 and 310 were reorganized to make it easier for operators to find the correct requirements, and understand what is needed to meet compliance. The material recovery facilities standards were moved from WAC 173-350-310 to section 210, which is now called "Recycling and material recovery facilities." Handling requirements for both permitted and permit exempt material recovery facilities and recyclers were standardized. Changes were made to both the definitions of material recovery facility and recycling to clarify that recycling and material recovery, while different activities, can occur at the same location.

WAC 173-350-230 Land Application
The existing exclusion from the rule for the agronomic land application of manure and crop residue has been expanded to also exclude the agronomic application of bedding and on-farm vegetative waste.

WAC 173-350-235 Soil and Sediment Criteria and Use:
See section 995 below.

WAC 173-350-240 Energy Recovery and Incineration Facilities
Changes propose applying the standards to all facilities capable of burning more than 12 tons of solid waste or refuse-derived fuel per day, and notifying the local health department prior to any significant deviation from the approved plan of operation.

WAC 173-350-310 - Intermediate Solid Waste Handling Facilities
Sections 210 and 310 were reorganized to make it easier for operators to find the correct requirements and understand what is needed to meet compliance. The material recovery facility standards were moved to section 173-350-210 (see Recycling and material recovery facilities). The title for WAC 173-350-310 was changed to "Transfer stations and drop box facilities." The language in section 310 revised to more clearly explain compliance requirements for transfer stations and drop box facilities, particularly the contents of the plan of operations, but without major changes to the substantive requirements.

WAC 173-350-320 – Piles Used for Storage or Treatment
The applicability section was completely rewritten to require a permit for facilities that manage solid waste in piles. Additionally, the exemptions allowed under the piles section have changed.

WAC 173-350-330 – Surface Impoundments and Tanks Changes expand the scope of the section to include piping systems that connect to surface impoundments or tanks. Other changes include more specific requirements for operations, maintenance, and monitoring of surface impoundments and tanks.

WAC 173-350-350 and -355 – Waste Tire Storage and Transportation
Waste tire storage remains under section 350, but a new section 355 is created for waste tire transport. Facilities that store waste tires indoors (not just outdoors) will be regulated as waste tire storage facilities. The exemption for waste tires stored in mobile containers has been modified to specify that these containers must move annually at a minimum in order to be exempt from being regulated as waste tire storage. Waste tire storage facility design requirements will be updated to reflect changes in fire code.

WAC 173-350-360 - Moderate Risk Waste Handling 360
Proposed changes to the moderate risk waste (MRW) section include a new exemption category for law enforcement agencies collecting MRW, and expanded requirements for product take-back centers. Additionally, changes were made to improve clarity in the applicability, design, operating, and closure standards for MRW operations.

WAC 173-350-400 – Limited purpose landfills
Changes provide a more comprehensive description of what data needs to be collected at limited purpose landfills for monitoring during facility operational life, and how it should be reported. Other changes clarify and expand requirements related to the performance of post-closure activities, and when those activities may be ended.

WAC 173-350-405 — Hybrid waste landfills
This section in the first draft of the rule has been deleted.

WAC 173-350-410 – Inert waste landfills
Ecology is proposing to raise the volume of inert waste that may be landfilled without a permit under a conditional exemption.

WAC 173-350-500 - Groundwater Monitoring
Changes include a requirement that all groundwater monitoring data must be submitted in an electronic format by April 1 of each year. For metals, both total and dissolved analyses are required for some parameters.

WAC 173-350-600 - Financial Assurance
Changes include adding the requirement to use state prevailing wages in closure and post-closure cost estimates.

WAC 173-350-700, -710, and -715
Changes include clarification as to what cleanup activities are exempt from solid waste permitting, adding a section on permit transfers, and incorporating new language based on changes to statute made by the 2016 Legislature pertaining to the review of certain solid waste permit applications for compost facilities. Language also proposes updates to the permit modification and variance processes.

WAC 173-350-900 – Remedial action
Revisions clarify the roles of Ecology and the local solid waste permitting agency for permitted solid facilities that are also subject to remedial actions using the authorities of the Model Toxics Control Act.

WAC 173-350-990 - Criteria for Inert Waste
Section 990 is eliminated. Acceptance criteria for disposal in inert waste landfills, including the listed inert wastes, are now found in section 410 – Inert waste landfills.

WAC 173-350-995 Soil and Sediment Use Criteria
Previously proposed section 235 has been combined with new section 995 as Soil and Sediment Use Criteria. This new section addresses testing and terrestrial use of soil or sediment impacted by the release of one or more contaminants. The section sets contaminant limits for use in particular settings, and requires no permitting for conformance with the section. The section will not apply to soil or sediment within cleanup sites or that are dangerous waste.

Process of development

Ecology proposed to begin rulemaking on Chapter 173-350 WAC in November of 2013. Based on work done before rulemaking was suspended in 2010, 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 revise various parts of the rule beginning in the spring of 2014. Members of individual workgroups were encouraged to share information and perspectives with other stakeholders, and bring stakeholder concerns back to their work groups for further discussion. That phase of the process has concluded, and Ecology thanks the many stakeholders who participated. For more information on our workgroup process go to our advisory committee page. Ecology held public workshops at three locations across the state in July 2016. Staff explained changes to the rule that the agency was considering. Following feedback from stakeholders, a second preliminary draft was prepared and is available for review. To ensure consideration, comments should be received by February 8, 2017. Ecology plans to release a formal proposed rule May 2017, with formal hearings in June or July, followed by adoption in the fall of 2017. For more information on the timeline for rule development, go to our rule timeline page.

How to Submit Comments on the Preliminary Draft

Ecology will accept written comments on the preliminary draft rule through February 8, 2017. Ecology will accept written comments in any format. We encourage stakeholders to submit comments electronically to in Microsoft Word format, so that the agency can more easily manage and respond to comments. For other options on submitting comments and more information on the workshops, go to our public involvement page.



Kyle Dorsey,


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