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Division of Waste Management


Permits for Land application of Sewage Sludge (biosolids)


The Kentucky regulations for land application of sewage sludge, or biosolids, are in 401 KAR Chapter 45.  Sewage sludge is defined as a special waste in accordance with KRS 224.50-760.  In addition to sewage sludge, the special waste category includes water treatment plant sludge, utility coal ash, gas and oil drilling muds and other wastes of “high volume, low hazard”. Chapter 45 of Title 401 applies to all types of special waste. Standards for land application are found in 401 KAR 45:100.


There are four types of permits for managing sewage sludge by means other than disposal at a landfill. 


The four permit types are:

1.      Landfarming

2.     Composting

3.     Storage and Treatment, and

4.     Sludge Giveaway


Incineration of sewage sludge is not addressed in the special waste regulations. For questions concerning incineration, contact the KY Division for Air Quality.


In addition to these four types, landfarming and composting are further divided into Type A and Type B, depending upon the concentration of pollutants, or “heavy metals” contained in the sludge. A total of three forms are required to be completed when applying for a Type A or Type B Special Waste Landfarming permit in Kentucky: DEP 7021A, “Notice of Intent to Apply for a Landfarming or Composting Permit”; DEP 7021B, “Application for a Landfarming Facility Permit”; and DEP 7094J, “Past Performance Information”.


To apply for a biosolids composting permit, three forms are also required, using DEP 7094D, “Application for a Special Waste Composting Facility Permit”, instead of DEP 7021B.


In addition to the landfarming or composting facility options in 401 KAR 45:100, KY regulations also allow for a less formal permit category type known as a registered permit-by-rule (RPBR). Under 401 KAR 45:070, two options for biosolids management are provided: sludge giveaway, using application form, DEP7059D, “Sludge Giveaway”, and alternative methods such as lime stabilization or heat drying, using for DEP7059G, “Storage and Treatment of Special Waste”. Only one form is required for either of these options.  The RPBR regulation 401 KAR 45:070 describes the application process. Operational standards for the sludge giveaway are in 401 KAR 45:100, Section 8, and for storage and treatment facilities, the standards are in 401 KAR 45:100, Section 10.


All of the forms listed above are available in the DEP Forms Library.