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Permitting Practices for Co-digestion Anaerobic Digester Systems

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State Permitting Requirements
• Overview of states
• California
• Idaho
• Illinois
• Indiana
• Iowa
• Maine
• Massachusetts
• Michigan
• Minnesota
• Nebraska
• New York
• Ohio
• Oregon
• Pennsylvania
• Texas
• Vermont
• Washington
• Wisconsin

Proposed Changes to State Permitting Requirements
• Georgia
• Maryland

Photo: quasar energy group
Photo: quasar energy group

The ability to co-digest manure and organic waste provides digester owners and operators with an opportunity to increase biogas production. Many states have air, solid waste, and water permitting requirements for these systems. As the number of operational systems increases, AgSTAR anticipates requirements will continue to be refined.

Below is an overview of federal regulations and air, solid waste, and water permitting requirements for selected states. These requirements vary by state and change frequently so developers and owners should contact the appropriate State Environmental Agency before construction or operation of an anaerobic digester (AD) system. Proposed changes to state permitting requirements are also provided below.



Federal Regulations

Federal Air Regulations
State air permits may be required if on-site combustion devices trigger federal emissions thresholds and other federal regulatory permitting requirements. Combustion devices with air emissions below federal thresholds may avoid permitting requirements. Federal air permitting requirements include:

Federal Solid Waste Regulations
Federal laws do not require solid waste permits for manure. However, the acceptance of other organics may designate the AD system as a waste processing facility in some states. Waste processing facilities are required to meet federal regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle D (which covers non-hazardous solid wastes) and 40 CFR Part 258 (which covers landfills). These regulations include specifications for the management of these wastes.

Federal Water Regulations
The Clean Water Act regulates Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) that discharge or propose to discharge to U.S. waters and requires these facilities to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit (PDF) (38 pp, 217K). Discharges include the result of inappropriate land application of manure. Large CAFOs that discharge must be permitted and develop and maintain Nutrient Management Plans (NMPs) to ensure appropriate land application of manure. Smaller farms also may be required to comply with the rule if they discharge to waters of the U.S. through a manmade device or through direct contact of the animals with waters of the U.S. Certain states may also include smaller farms in their animal feeding operations programs. A large CAFO is defined as an animal feeding operation with more than:


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State Permitting Requirements

Many states have air, solid waste and water permitting requirements for on-farm AD systems that digest organic wastes in addition to manure. Construction permits may also be required for these systems. The table below compares state-specific air, solid waste and water permitting requirements as of May 2014 for on-farm AD systems. Click on the state to view more in-depth information about permitting and relevant agencies, which is provided below the table. Please contact the appropriate State Environmental Agency to determine current rules before constructing or operating an AD system.

Overview of State Permitting Requirements Specific to AD Systems
✔= state has established specific requirements; * = state offers a Consolidated or General Permit Process

State Air Solid Waste Water
State Specific Thresholds RCRA Subtitle D
Requirements
Codigestion Requirements Manure-Only Exemption Offsite Waste Acceptance Requirements NPDES State CAFO Requirements Codigestion Requirements
California*          
Idaho            
Illinois            
Indiana    
Iowa          
Maine            
Massachusetts*              
Michigan      
Minnesota        
Nebraska              
New York            
Ohio*          
Oregon          
Pennsylvania*            
Texas              
Vermont          
Washington          
Wisconsin            

California — The state of California implements a consolidated permit process that clarifies the permitting process for dairy digester projects. Several resources specific to dairy digesters are available on the California Environmental Protection Agency’s (Cal/EPA) Dairy Digesters website.

CA Air Permitting

CA Solid Waste Permitting

CA Water Permitting

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Idaho

ID Air Permitting

ID Solid Waste Permitting

ID Water Permitting

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Illinois — Permitting is regulated by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

IL Air Permitting

IL Solid Waste Permitting

IL Water Permitting

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Indiana — Permitting is regulated by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).

IN Air Permitting

IN Solid Waste Permitting

IN Water Permitting

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Iowa — Permitting is regulated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

IA Air Permitting

IA Solid Waste Permitting

IA Water Permitting

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Maine — Permitting is regulated by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

ME Solid Waste Permitting

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Massachusetts — Permitting is regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Massachusetts provides specific information about anaerobic digestion and organics diversion on the Mass.gov Anaerobic Digestion & Organics Diversion Website.

MA Solid Waste Permitting

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Michigan — Permitting is regulated by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

MI Air Permitting

MI Solid Waste Permitting

MI Water Permitting

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Minnesota — Permitting is regulated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture offers the Energy from Waste: Anaerobic Manure Digestion website to provide more information and resources.

MN Air Permitting

MN Solid Waste Permitting

MN Water Permitting

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Nebraska — Permitting is regulated by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality. The State of Nebraska established a One Stop Permit Assistance Program to guide businesses and industry through the permitting process.

NE Air Permitting

NE Solid Waste Permitting

NE Water Permitting

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New York — Permitting is regulated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

NY Air Permitting

NY Solid Waste Permitting

NY Water Permitting

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Ohio

OH Air Permitting

OH Solid Waste Permitting

OH Water Permitting

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Oregon — Permitting is regulated by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

OR Air Permitting

OR Solid Waste Permitting

OR Water Permitting

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Pennsylvania — Permitting is regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

PA Air Permitting

PA Solid Waste Permitting

PA Water Permitting

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Texas — Permitting is regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

TX Air Permitting

TX Solid Waste Permitting

TX Water Permitting

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Vermont

VT Air Permitting

VT Solid Waste Permitting

VT Water Permitting

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Washington — Permitting is regulated by the Washington State Department of Ecology.

WA Air Permitting

WA Solid Waste Permitting

WA Water Permitting

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Wisconsin — Permitting is regulated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

WI Air Permitting

WI Solid Waste Permitting

WI Water Permitting

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Proposed Changes to State Permitting Requirements

Some states have proposed changes to existing regulations that could affect the permitting requirements of AD systems. A brief description of the proposed changes is provided below.

Georgia — Permitting is regulated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division.

GA Solid Waste Permitting

Maryland — Permitting is regulated by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).

MD Solid Waste Permitting


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