The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) is responsible for ensuring that operators of solid waste disposal and major waste tire facilities demonstrate, to CalRecycle, adequate financial assurances for costs of closure and postclosure maintenance, known or reasonably foreseeable corrective action, and operating liability. Staff review and approve financial assurance demonstrations, and recommend authorization for disbursements from closure, postclosure maintenance and corrective action funds.
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Regulatory and Legislative Initiatives
CalRecycle recently completed a rulemaking to clarify and amend the planning and financial assurance requirements for closure, postclosure maintenance, and corrective actions of solid waste landfills in California. That rulemaking was based on stakeholder input as well a 2007 study of long-term threats and financial assurance mechanism. As a result, these new, long term “landfill care” provisions include:
- Change of Ownership Notification
- Filing and Plan Processing Requirements
- Plan Amendments (Closure or Postclosure Maintenance)
- Corrective Action Plans and Cost Estimates (Non-water)
- Amount of Required Coverage (Financial Assurance Demonstration)
Implementation guidance is being developed and training opportunities are available.
Recent legislation, AB 274, State Solid Waste Postclosure and Corrective Action Trust Fund (Chapter 318, Statutes of 2009) (Portantino) allows solid waste disposal facility operators to participate in a Trust Fund by paying a quarterly fee based on tons of waste disposed. The fee does not become operative unless CalRecycle receives, on or before July 1, 2011, letters of participation representing at least 50 percent of the total annual waste disposal tonnage in 2010. The Trust Fund would be used to cover the cost of postclosure activities and corrective actions in those situations where owners or operators of these facilities fail to perform necessary actions, are unable or unwilling to pay for required activities, and all financial assurances are exhausted. Implementation guidance is currently in development.
CalRecycle is responsible for obtaining compliance by way of enforcement if an operator fails to provide the appropriate coverage for closure, postclosure maintenance, non-water quality related corrective actions, and operating liability. The Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCB) are responsible for obtaining compliance by way of enforcement if an operator fails to provide appropriate coverage for known or reasonably foreseeable corrective action for water quality related events.
CalRecycle enforcement procedures and authority to assess penalties are implemented according to Public Resources Code, sections 45000 and 45023. Local enforcement agencies (LEA) and pertinent CalRecycle employees are informed of the financial assurance violations and CalRecycle’s intent to pursue enforcement.
CalRecycle staff may receive requests from the LEA, CalRecycle staff, and RWQCB staff through use of the Financial Assurances Review Request for the current status of financial assurance demonstrations. The findings of staff are good for only 30 days (or as otherwise specified by staff) from the CalRecycle notification date.
Full permit or major waste tire facility permit processing timelines may range from approximately 30 to 300 days depending on: application date, LEA determination date, waiver of determination and final LEA determination date, and proposed permit date, amongst other variables.
The LEA is responsible for ensuring that current reviews of the financial assurances demonstrations for closure, postclosure maintenance and corrective action were completed during the full solid waste facilities permit (SWFP) application process (upon receipt/filing of a signed and dated solid waste facility permit application) and until the proposed SWFP is received by CalRecycle. The LEA is responsible for requesting financial assurance status for the application filing and the LEA 30 day determination process for the correctness and completeness of the application. Additionally, the LEA is responsible for the continued status of financial assurances requirements of the owner/operator/applicant through the permit process including, and up to, the submittal of a proposed permit (i.e., the date the proposed permit is received by CalRecycle).
The LEA should check with CalRecycle staff for current financial assurances status throughout the application process from the date of filing, the determination date and the proposed permit date.
As a result of the new regulations, there are new requirements for corective action cost estimates. An operator must provide a copy of the most recently submitted, detailed written estimate or latest approved estimate, whichever identifies the greatest cost, to cover the cost of known or reasonably foreseeable, corrective action activities pursuant to Title 27 Section 22101.
CalRecycle permitting staff should check the status of the financial assurance demonstrations upon receipt of the proposed permit and 10 days prior to submittal of the proposed permit to the Director’s Office for concurrence by contacting CalRecycle financial assurance staff as needed to determine and maintain the most current status.