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Standards for the Use or Disposal of Sewage Sludge & Biosolids in Louisiana Regulations

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Prior to September 2005, the state of Louisiana did not have a defined State Sewage Sludge or Biosolids Program. The regulating and permitting of sewage sludge use or disposal in Louisiana was handled under the Solid Waste regulations. Those regulations were promulgated in 1993 and basically followed the requirements in 40 CFR 257 and 258. Permits issued for the use or disposal of sewage sludge was handled in the same fashion as a solid waste material.

A new set of regulations were promulgated in April of 2002 and placed as a part of the Water Quality regulations. These regulations were promulgated in order to have one, separate, and individual set of regulations for sewage sludge that would remove sewage sludge from the regulations aimed or directed to overall solid waste. However, the regulations were promulgated in such a fashion so as to only become effective when the state assumed the Sewage Sludge Management Program from EPA. Although the state had plans to pursue assumption of the Program from EPA and is still considering those plans, the state of Louisiana did not have or still does not have the EPA Program.

In 2004 and in early 2005, problems arose regarding ponds that were being utilized for the disposal of domestic septage. Therefore, being that the state already had promulgated regulations regarding the use or disposal of sewage sludge, in order to better address the issues regarding these ponds, the state made a decision to remove the provision that the 2002 regulations would not take effect until assumption of the EPA Program and in September of 2005 issued an Emergency Rule that essentially made the 2002 regulations effective and enforceable. The Emergency Rule also allowed for the regulating and permitting of all sewage sludge under the new regulations. The Emergency Rule lasted for a six month period; however, was extended several times up until November 20, 2007.

On November 20, 2007, the regulations (with changes) that were originally promulgated in April of 2002 were published in the Louisiana Register as a Final Rule. The regulations basically follow the EPA 40 CFR Part 503 “Standards for the Use or Disposal of Sewage Sludge” with some changes that best fit Louisiana needs and conditions. Those changes involve the development of new definitions, the prohibiting of Surface Disposal, a restriction on what can or cannot be mixed with sewage sludge, certification of owners/operators of sewage sludge facilities, soil and/or site restrictions, buffers, specific requirements for closure of ponds and abandoned sanitary wastewater treatment facilities, specific requirements when mixing grease that is pumped or removed from food service establishments and is mixed with sewage sludge, and specific permitting requirements.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2008-01-01

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