The British Columbia Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (the “Ministry”) recently introduced proposed changes to the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation (OMRR). The Regulation itself governs the construction and operation of compost facilities, and the production, distribution, storage, sale and use of biosolids and compost. It provides clear guidance for local governments and compost and biosolids producers, on how to use organic material while protecting soil quality and drinking water sources.
The Ministry is currently conducting a comprehensive the OMMR to ensure it remains protective of human health and the environment. The Ministry recently published a 2018 Intentions Paper for review. The Intentions Paper is the result of policy development following
three previous policy intentions papers (October 2006, July 2012, and September 2016) with consultations, a follow up Summary of
Public Input and Policy Update (March 2017), and policy work completed this past year by the Ministry.
The policy intentions paper presents the Ministry’s policy intentions for proposed revisions to the OMRR. The policy intentions paper reflects details and further policy development completed since March 2017, including in topic areas that had been identified for further exploration or policy development in the Summary of Public Input and Policy Update. The policy intentions paper is developed for the purpose of consultation.
The ministry’s proposed revisions to the OMRR are intended to address advances in science, feedback from stakeholders, policy direction, and operational issues or gaps that have been identified through implementation of the OMRR. Proposed OMRR revisions will be in keeping with the ministry’s approach to develop legislation, regulation and policies based on evidence and sound scientific knowledge and expertise.
The Intentions Paper contains specific policy intentions and details that have changed since earlier consultations or are new policy proposals which were not discussed in previous intentions papers. They are are follows:
- Improving government authority with a shift from a notification process to a registration process (Section 1);
- Classifying composting facility size by the amount of feedstock received (i.e., input) rather than the amount of
compost produced (i.e., output) (Section 1);
- Requiring that a notice of operation be given by facilities producing BGM and using more than 5 m3 of biosolids at a
site per calendar year (Section 1.1);
- Specifying requirements for engagement with First Nations (Section 2);
- Enabling substitutions (Section 3);
- Enabling fee payments for substitutions and registrations (Section 4);
- Addition of new feedstocks for composting, including raw domestic sludge and used mushroom growing substrate
and (Section 5);
- Establishing timelines for composting facilities under permit, approval or operational certificate to adopt higher
performance standards (Section 6.2);
- Improving standards for compost quality criteria, including a new limit of 0.25 percent by wet weight for plastics
- Specifying mandatory setbacks for composting operations (Section 6.4); and
- Enabling a director to request post-application sampling for each site and occurrence of the land application of
managed organic matter (Section 7.4).
The Ministry is encouraging comments regarding the information outlined in the 2018 Intentions Paper. The deadline for responses is November 8, 2018. The Ministry has stated that it will consider all responses as it prepares the proposed revisions to the regulation.