Landfill Permitting Overview
The landfill permitting law is found in the Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) Chapter 224 and the regulations are in Title 401 of the Kentucky Administrative Regulations (KAR) Chapters 30, 40, 45, 47, 48, and 49.
The landfill application for contained landfills, construction/demolition debris landfills, and residual landfills is in three parts: the Notice of Intent, the Administrative Application, and the Technical Application. There are four public notices required to be published by the applicant and two comment periods to allow public participation. The details of the public participation process are described in the appropriate phase of the application. The special waste landfill application is a single phase with its own public notice requirements. The special waste requirements can be found in 401 KAR Chapter 45.
Landfill applications on average take about eighteen to twenty-four months to go through the process. This includes the time to correct any deficiencies with the application and the public hearings that may be requested.
Step One, Local Determination
Before you submit your permit application to the Division of Waste Management, you must submit your proposal to the Local Solid Waste Governing Body of the county in which the site is proposed. This determination is to ensure that the proposed facility is consistent with the county and/or area plan. The governing body has sixty (60) calendar days from receipt of the written request to make the determination. The requirements for this determination can be found in KRS 224.40-315.
Step Two, Submitting the Notice of Intent Application
Now that you have your Local Determination (this determination can be either positive or negative), place the determination in the "Notice of Intent" Application phase and it is ready to be submitted to the Division of Waste Management. It would be noteworthy to mention that if the determination is negative, the Division would deny the application during the first phase.
The requirements of the Notice of Intent application can be found in 401 KAR 47:170. Generally, the information required for the Notice of Intent is a review of published information such as general groundwater data, soil boring and rock coring plan, threatened and endangered species data, historic places, and archeological sites. Once the Division accepts the application, the applicant will be required to publish a notice in a newspaper with the largest circulation in the area in which the landfill will be located.
The Division has thirty (30) working days to review the application after it is accepted. If there are deficiencies with the application, you will be notified by letter listing all of the deficiencies. Once the deficiency letter is dated and signed, the review clock is stopped until the application is resubmitted to correct the deficiencies of the application. The review clock restarts from the point it stopped.
An important section of the application is to consider all the variances and/or alternate designs that may be necessary for your project. The siting requirements in 401 KAR 48:050 need to be closely evaluated for all new landfill sites.
Step Three, the Administrative Application
The Administrative Application is the second phase of the permitting process. This phase of the application contains the site-specific information for developing the technical design of the landfill. The application will contain information concerning the groundwater flow direction, estimates on the amount of soil that is available to construct and operate the landfill, the types and the sources of waste, and a conceptual design of the landfill cap and liner design. The requirements of this application phase may be found in 401 KAR 47:180. The Division has sixty (60) working days to review the application. As with the first phase, a letter will be sent if any deficiencies are found during the review process and clock will be stopped while the Division waits for response.
Once the Division accepts the Administrative Application as complete, you will be requested to supply two executive summaries under separate covers which will be sent to the county judge executive and the public library for the county in which the landfill will be located. The applicant will be notified when they may place the public notice for the administrative phase in the newspaper.
This public notice will have a thirty (30) day comment period to allow any interested party an opportunity to comment on the proposed landfill. This comment period will not hold up the review of the Technical Application once it is received. If anyone wishes, they may request a public hearing as described in 401 KAR 47:140, Sections 7 and 12. This hearing will be held in the county in which the landfill is proposed and is better described as a meeting to exchange information concerning the proposed landfill. If a hearing is held, a court reporter will be present to record the meeting.
Step Four, the Technical Application
The Technical Application phase is the last phase of the permitting process. The Technical Application contains the design of the landfill cap, liner, and groundwater monitoring plan with the associated support facilities such as ponds, roads, and maintenance buildings. The requirements of the Technical Application can be found in 401 KAR 47:190.
A public notice is required to be published once the Division receives the Technical Application. This notice states that the application has been received by the Division for review. If you have the Technical Application prepared and ready for submittal at the end of the Administrative Application phase, this public notice can be combined with the Administrative Application public notice.
The Division has ninety (90) working days for the review of the Technical Application. As with previous phases, a letter will be sent if any deficiencies are found during the review process and process for stopping the clock is the same. When all the deficiencies have been corrected and each phase of the permit application has met all the applicable regulations, the Division will issue a draft construction permit. A final public notice is published with a thirty (30) day comment period.
It usually takes the Division two weeks to issue the draft permit. During this time, the Division is working out the conditions of the permit and gathering the administrative record which will be housed in the public library for the duration of the comment period. Once the comment period expires and no comments or request for a hearing have been received, the construction permit can be issued. This process usually takes the division two (2) weeks to issue the permit.
If a hearing is requested during this period, it is an adjudicatory hearing. This means that it is an adversarial proceeding in which everyone has a lawyer. This proceeding will add six (6) to eight (8) months to the permitting process. Until the issue(s) are resolved, the Division cannot issue the construction permit.
So, go forth and build your landfill. The Division will be sending representatives to verify the construction of the landfill to make sure that it is built in accordance with the approved design. Once the division has received your consultant engineer's certification that the landfill has been built according to the approved design, the Division has ten (10) days to issue the operating permit, providing that the financial assurance documents (closure and closure care bonds) are in order and have been accepted by the Division.