by M. Dwayne Johnson

The Louisiana Solid Waste Regulations, LAC 33:VII (the “LSWR”), have largely existed in their current state since February 1993, when the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (“LDEQ”) completely rewrote the Aold@ solid waste regulations. Now, in the culmination of an over 20-month joint effort by LDEQ, the regulated community, and the public, LDEQ hopes to propose comprehensive amendments to the LSWR. (These amendments may be proposed by as early as July of this year.)   Unlike the 1993 revisions, however, the current draft amendments are not a wholesale rewrite of the LSWR. Instead, LDEQ proposes to reorganize, streamline, and supplement the existing regulations to make them easier to understand and apply. LDEQ also has attempted to ease the compliance burden, where possible, without increasing risk to public health or environment. That said, for the most part, the proposed amendments constitute a “tweaking,” not an overhaul, and existing regulations will continue in their current form, although perhaps reordered and renumbered.

As proposed, the new LSWR will be divided into eleven chapters (as compared to the current seven), with new chapters being used, e.g., to concentrate the regulatory provisionson (a) administration, classification, and inspection procedures, (b) geology, subsurface characterization, and groundwater monitoring, (c) financial assurance, and (d) fees.    See,

The proposed new regulations on beneficial use and soil reuse may be of particular interest to the regulated community. Here, LDEQ has essentially rewritten the old beneficial use regulations, which had focused almost entirely on soil amendment/beneficiation through application of sewage sludge. Under the newly proposed Chapter 11, LDEQ provides a much improved procedure pursuant to which solid wastes may be approved for beneficial use. The information required in the beneficial use application is clearly spelled out in the regulations and is focused upon the characteristics of the material, the planned end beneficial use, the market for the material, and the mechanisms to be employed by the applicant in handling, storing, and utilizing the material to ensure that it will not adversely affect public health, safety, or the environment. Generally, at least 75% of beneficial use material placed in storage during a year must be marketed within the following year. Otherwise, in a laudable display of regulatory flexibility, LDEQ has not taken a “one size fits all” approach to beneficial use and thus has not imposed rigid standards that each applicant must meet. 

On-site reuse of in situ contaminated soil is also made much easier under the newly proposed Chapter 11. The level of regulatory oversight for such soil reuse is tied to the level of contaminants in the soil vis-à-vis the pertinent Risk Evaluation/Corrective Action Program (“RECAP”) standard(s) developed by LDEQ in accordance with LAC 33:I.Chapter 13. For example, if the contaminant levels are at or below the RECAP standard(s) for non-industrial land use, the soil is exempt from the LSWR and no prior LDEQ notification or approval is required (record keeping is still required). If, instead, the contaminant levels are at or below the RECAP standards(s) for industrial land use (but do not meet the standard(s) for non-industrial land use) and the soil is to be reused on-site at an industrial facility, LDEQ must first be notified and provided with certain information regarding the soil, the property in question, and the proposed reuse, along with an on-site soil reuse plan; the soil will be exempt from the LSWR and the reuse allowed only upon LDEQ approval of the on-site soil reuse plan.