Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. R. 110-4-3-.04 - Minimum Planning Standards

(1) General: Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 12-8-31.1, the Minimum Planning Standards and Procedures outline the steps required to prepare and implement a local, multi-jurisdictional, or regional solid waste management plan. Since the initial implementation of the minimum planning standards, solid waste planning efforts have resulted in

- the diversion of recyclable materials from the waste stream and provided them as valuable resources for industries,

- created jobs,

- reduced dependency on precious natural resources,

- enhanced environmental stewardship, and

- contributed to the reduction of pollution in many areas across the state.

To maintain the momentum established through past planning efforts, the updated standards provide a framework for plan preparation that requires local governments to: assess the current status of solid waste management within a planning area, determine their solid waste planning needs and goals, and determine how an effective and comprehensive solid waste management program will be implemented within their jurisdiction.

(a) All solid waste management plans must include the following planning elements: waste disposal stream analysis; waste reduction; collection; disposal; land limitation; education and public involvement; and an implementation schedule. Each plan as stated in O.C.G.A. § 12-8-31.1(b) shall, at a minimum, provide for the assurance of adequate solid waste handling capability and capacity within the planning area for at least ten years from the date of completion of the plan.
(b) The plan shall specifically address
1. an adequate collection and disposal capability;
2. enumerate the solid waste handling facilities as to size and type; and
3. identify those sites which are not suitable for solid waste handling facilities based on environmental and land use factors.
(c) All local governments developing solid waste management plans are required to provide adequate opportunity for public participation in the planning process.
(d) As communities re-evaluate their planning process, they may find that there is a need to join with neighboring communities to ensure the efficient and successful implementation of their solid waste management programs. Where applicable, the plan must focus on inter-jurisdictional relations or considerations within each planning element. Multi-jurisdictional plans shall state specific relationships and management responsibilities for each planning element. Regional plans shall state the specific relationships and management responsibilities for each planning element in the plan, clearly identifying those elements which will be managed on a regional basis.
(2) Minimum Planning Requirements: Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 12-8-31.1, the Department is authorized to establish minimum planning standards and procedures to be addressed by local governments in the solid waste management planning process.
(a) When preparing a solid waste management plan and after determining and declaring the planning area as either a local, multijurisdictional, or regional solid waste management plan, each plan must address the following five core planning elements which shall be preceded by a waste stream analysis and followed by an implementation schedule. Each of the five core elements shall be addressed under routine operating conditions:

· waste disposal stream analysis,

· waste reduction,

· collection,

· disposal,

· land limitation,

· education and public involvement, and

· an implementation schedule.

Under special conditions resulting from any type of disaster which generates significant volumes of waste and/or special wastes the plan shall identify procedures for the collection, waste reduction (recycling), disposal, and public notification of alternative programs for the commercial and residential waste generated from the disaster.

(b) Multi-jurisdictional plans shall state specific relationships and management responsibilities among the participating governments for each planning element. Regional plans shall identify planning elements that are managed on a regional basis and state the specific relationships and management responsibilities among the participating governments for each element. Nothing in these rules, however, shall be construed to prohibit a community from preparing and submitting a solid waste management plan that exceeds these minimum planning standards and procedures. The minimum requirements for a successful solid waste management plan are specified below:
(3) Defining the Planning Jurisdiction/Unit.
(a) Jurisdictions that agree to plan together shall identify all local governments that are included in the solid waste management plan.
1. Jurisdictions that agree to plan together will maintain the planning relationships established in the approved and adopted plan throughout the planning period, including the five-year Short-Term Work Program update.
2. All participating local governments must adopt the Solid Waste Plan, the Short-Term Work Program, Plan Amendments, and/or Plan Updates before the Department will make an eligibility determination for any of the local governments participating in the plan.
3. If any of the participants decide to break from the planning arrangement and pursue solid waste management planning independent of the original group, the approved and adopted plan must be amended, submitted for approval, and adopted by the remaining local governments.
4. Any local government opting out of a multi-jurisdictional or regional plan will immediately become an ineligible government and will remain so until it adopts a full Solid Waste Management Plan that encompasses all the planning elements and covers their jurisdiction.
(b) The introduction to the plan will include, but is not limited to, an overview of the area covered by the plan: location in the state, topographic information, population, seasonal population variation if appropriate, number of households, and types of commercial, manufacturing, and industrial businesses in the planning area.
(4) Waste Disposal Stream Analysis.
(a) The Waste Disposal Stream Analysis shall provide an inventory of waste stream generators (e.g., residential, commercial, industrial, C&D, etc.), the types of waste they contribute to the waste disposal stream (e.g., paper, plastic, metal, etc.) and an estimate for these various components as a percentage of the total waste stream. It is not anticipated that each local government will conduct its own waste stream characterization study, but may rely upon the waste characterization study conducted by the state or on other comparable information. If another information source is used, it must be identified. If wastes such as inert materials, construction/demolition debris, yard trimmings, tires, industrial sludge, and others are being collected, stored, or disposed of at a solid waste landfill, then the waste stream characterization will include these wastes. Local governments shall also account for fluctuations in quantities disposed due to known events such as seasonal variations in population, public events (e.g., fairs, festivals, concerts), shifts in manufacturing or production processes, landfill bans, etc., and any type of waste generating disaster(s).
(b) Using the information gathered in the inventory phase, extrapolate anticipated waste amounts for the ten-year planning period that is reasonably consistent with population trends and population projections. The waste stream analysis and extrapolation shall begin with the current planning year and extend ten years beyond the year of plan completion. Projections shall be annual projections, unless otherwise noted and shall be reasonably consistent. Methods and assumptions used in calculating daily and annual tonnage, as well as the percentage of composition by source must be documented.
(c) This information will guide local government decisions regarding current and future solid waste management service and facility needs. In addition, this information will provide the basis for creating, implementing, and sustaining programs to help the State achieve a statewide per capita municipal solid waste disposal reduction goal of 25 percent. All decisions in subsequent elements shall relate back to the information presented in this inventory.
(5) Five Core Planning Elements. Each of the five core planning elements must relate back to the information provided in the Waste Disposal Stream Analysis and shall include the following steps:

· Inventory and Assessment, and

· Needs and Goals.

Inventory and Assessment: The inventory will provide local governments with basic information about existing programs and infrastructures in order to assess the usefulness of current programs. It must include the following activities:

· Preparation of an inventory of current programs, capacities, and facilities for the five core planning elements including routine operations. Under special conditions resulting from any type of disaster which generates significant volumes of waste and/or special wastes the plan shall identify procedures for the collection, waste reduction (recycling), disposal, and public notification of alternative programs for the commercial and residential waste generated from the disaster.

· Assessment of current programs, capacities and facilities for the five core planning elements shall relate directly to the information provided in the Waste Disposal Stream Analysis and shall include consideration of the implications of current conditions. The assessment should encompass input from the public.

Statement of Needs and Goals: Following the inventory and assessment portion for each of the five core planning elements the plan shall include a statement of current and future needs and goals which reflect the information gathered in the inventory and assessment phase.

(a) Waste Reduction Element.
1. Provide an inventory of current Waste Reduction and Recycling programs, both public and private. Questions that may be considered include:

- Who (which segment(s)) does the program target, how many are served?

- What types of recyclables are collected?

2. Specific items to be addressed, where applicable to a community, are as follows:
(i) Source reduction: Inventory of source reduction programs for residential, commercial, and industrial sectors, such as reuse programs, financial incentives, waste audits, waste exchanges, or industrial process changes.
(ii) Recycling: Inventory of public and private recycling facilities and programs (e.g., drop-off centers, buy-back centers, recovered materials processing facilities, curbside collection programs, and commercial and industrial programs, including those implemented in-house and those operated in cooperation with a local government program).
3. Yard Trimming Mulching/Composting: Georgia law specifies: "Effective September 1, 1996, each city, county, or solid waste management authority shall impose restrictions on yard trimmings which are generated in or may ultimately be disposed of in its area of jurisdiction. These restrictions shall include but are not limited to:
(i) A requirement that yard trimmings not be placed in or mixed with municipal solid waste;
(ii) A ban on the disposal of yard trimmings at municipal solid waste disposal facilities having liners and leachate collection systems or requiring vertical expansion within its jurisdiction;
(iii) A requirement that yard trimmings be sorted and stored for collection in such a manner as to facilitate collection, composting, or other handling; and
(iv) A requirement that yard trimmings be sorted and stockpiled or chipped, composted, used as mulch, or otherwise beneficially reused or recycled to the maximum extent feasible.

Inventory any and all types of composting and mulching programs (e.g., home composting, municipal composting, or limb and stump grinding) or other methods (e.g., inert landfilling, WTE) that keep yard trimmings out of lined landfills. If either or both programs are operated by a public entity, include the processing capacity of the facility(ies) or programs. Also, describe what happens to the yard trimmings after collection (e.g., composted, ground up for mulch, sent to inert landfill, etc.), and how the end product, if any, is distributed.

4. Special Management Items: Inventory of public and private facilities and programs that address items requiring special management procedures such as, but not limited to, electronics, household hazardous waste, lead acid batteries, tires, and white goods.
5. Based on the information reported in the Waste Disposal Stream Analysis, assess if the current waste reduction and recycling program(s) target the appropriate waste generating sector(s) and/or waste stream(s) to achieve the State's 25% per capita waste disposal reduction goal.
6. The needs and goals section provides the opportunity to examine the adequacy of current programs and explore other programmatic options, including costs. Provide a statement of needs and goals based on the assessment of current programs as they relate to targets identified in the Waste Stream Element and the State's 25% per capita waste disposal reduction goal.
(b) Collection Element.
1. Provide information on the types of collection arrangements, contracts, agreements, ordinances etc., established to ensure adequate public or private collection capability:
(i) Inventory current solid waste and recyclable collection programs: name(s) and addresses of hauler(s) operating in the jurisdiction - both residential and commercial;
(ii) Types of collection programs (e.g., curbside collection, staffed convenience centers, unstaffed green box system, etc.); and
(iii) Who manages them (e.g., municipally managed, local government contracts with hauler(s), citizens - residential and/or business - contract directly with the hauler, etc.)?
2. If yard trimmings are collected, include a description of the collection method(s) - who collects it and how (curbside or drop off).
3. Address the adequacy of the collection programs as they relate to the overall population in the planning area, population density in specific regions within the planning area and topographic factors that influence collection decisions. If type of service is not 100% over the whole planning area, identify each population segment and the collection method for each segment.
4. If appropriate, identify the frequency of illegal dumping in the planning area and methods for correcting the problem.
5. Are current collection programs adequate for serving present and future community needs and to facilitate progress towards the waste reduction goals? Provide a statement of needs and goals for current and future collection programs which outline a strategy for providing an effective, affordable collection system for the ten-year planning period.
6. The Plan must also include a contingency strategy for the interim collection of solid waste generated within the local government's jurisdiction in the event the primary collection option becomes interrupted. At a minimum, such a contingency strategy must identify:
(i) What alternative collection option(s) the local government will use on an interim basis; and
(ii) The estimated length of time it will take the local government to bring the contingency collection option(s) on line, if that becomes necessary.
(c) Disposal Element.
1. Provide a detailed inventory of current disposal practices.
(i) Disposal: Identify and include the type (e.g., solid waste landfill, tire monofill, inert landfill, construction and demolition landfill), capacity (size and projected remaining life), ownership (public or private), location, and the types of wastes accepted for each disposal facility used or planned to be used during the planning period.
(ii) Thermal Treatment Technologies: Identify and include the type (e.g., waste-to-energy, refuse-derived fuel, wood waste incinerator, tire-derived fuel, co-firing industrial boiler), general facility description, location, ownership (public or private), capacity, types of wastes accepted, and disposal method of residual materials for each facility used or planned to be used during the planning period.
2. Once the inventory is complete, assess if existing facilities and current practices will be adequate throughout the ten-year planning period.
3. Based upon the inventory and assessment provide a statement of needs and goals as they relate to current and future disposal options.
4. Assurance of ten-year disposal capacity: Under the Georgia Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Act of 1990, each local government must provide ten-year capacity assurance whether that local government relies on its own landfill, another local government, regional authority, private entity or any combination thereof for disposal of the solid waste generated within the planning jurisdiction. In this element, local governments must identify current disposal practices, the party or parties involved in current disposal practice agreements, the length of time covered by current disposal agreements, and describe the process used to identify and secure future landfill capacity adequate to serve the jurisdiction's disposal needs so that ten full years of disposal capacity is covered by the plan. Capacity assurance agreements can be from one or more facilities as long as the ten-year requirement is met. All disposal agreements shall identify the jurisdiction(s) covered by the agreement and an estimation, based on current disposal information, of waste to be disposed at the facility or facilities. As documentation, local governments shall include one of the following as an appendix to the plan:
(i) Some form of formal, written agreement between two or more parties (e.g., an interlocal agreement) which describes a process by which the local government(s) has negotiated waste disposal options with a landfill or landfills covering the ten year planning time frame;
(ii) A written commitment from the owner of a disposal facility certifying sufficient capacity;
(iii) A written commitment of capacity assurance, which identifies the landfill(s) where the waste is disposed, from a commercial or contract solid waste hauler serving a local government.
5. The Plan must also include a contingency strategy for the interim disposal of the solid waste generated within the local government's jurisdiction in the event the primary disposal option becomes interrupted. At a minimum, such a contingency strategy must identify:
(i) What alternative disposal option(s) the local government will use on an interim basis; and
(ii) The estimated length of time it will take the local government to bring the contingency disposal option(s) on line, if that becomes necessary.
(d) Land Limitation Element.
1. Provide an assessment of land areas which, due to natural environmental limitations or land use factors, are considered unsuitable for development for recycling, recovery, composting or solid waste disposal facilities. Include a map identifying the areas determined to be unsuitable for the location of such facilities. Based on the inventory and assessment, communities should develop and include in the plan a strategy to:
1) discourage the location of such facilities in areas identified as unsuitable; and
2) identify a decision making process for the selection of sites for new solid waste handling facilities. Specific items to be considered are as follows:
(i) Natural Environmental Limitations:
(I) Water supply watersheds: DNR Rule 391-3-16-.01(7)(c)1 requires that at any location within a small water supply watershed, new solid waste landfills must have synthetic liners and leachate collection systems.
(II) Groundwater recharge areas: DNR Rule 391-3-16-.02(3)(a) requires that in significant groundwater recharge areas, DNR shall not issue permits for new solid waste landfills not having synthetic liners and leachate collection systems.
(III) Wetlands: DNR Rule 391-3-16-.03(3)(e) establishes that solid waste landfills may constitute an unacceptable use of a wetland.
(IV) River corridors: DNR Rule 391-3-16-.04(4)(h) prohibits the development of new solid waste landfills within protected river corridors.
(V) Protected mountains: DNR Rule 391-3-16-.05(4)(l) prohibits the development of new solid waste landfills in areas designated as protected mountains.
(ii) Criteria for siting: The following items are criteria for siting solid waste facilities under DNR Rules. Local governments preparing plans should consult with DNR for the most current applicable rules.
(I) Zoning: DNR Rule 391-3-4-.05(1)(a) requires that the site must conform to all local zoning/land use ordinances, and that written verification of such be submitted to EPD.
(II) Airport safety: DNR Rule 391-3-4-.05(1)(c) requires that new solid waste landfill units or lateral expansions of existing units shall not be within 10,000 feet of any public use or private use airport runway end used by turbojet aircraft or within 5,000 feet of any public use or private use airport runway end used by only piston type aircraft.
(III) Flood plains: DNR Rule 391-3-4-.05(1)(d) stipulates that any solid waste landfill located in the 100-year flood plain shall not restrict the flow of the 100-year flood, reduce the temporary water storage capacity of the flood plain, or result in a washout of solid waste so as to pose a threat to human health or the environment.
(IV) Wetlands: DNR Rule 391-3-4-.05(1)(e) prohibits the development of solid waste landfills in wetlands, as defined by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, unless evidence is provided by the applicant to EPD that use of such wetlands has been permitted or otherwise authorized under all other applicable state and federal laws and rules.
(V) Fault areas: DNR Rule 391-3-4-.05(1)(f) requires that new landfill units and lateral expansions of existing landfills shall not be located within 200 feet of a fault that has had displacement in the Holocene Epoch unless the owner or operator demonstrates to EPD that an alternative setback distance of less than 200 feet will prevent damage to the structural integrity of the landfill unit and will be protective of human health and the environment.
(VI) Seismic impact zones: DNR Rule 391-3-4-.05(1)(g) prohibits the development of new landfill units and lateral expansions in seismic impact zones unless the owner or operator demonstrates to EPD that all containment structures, including liners, leachate collection systems, and surface water control systems are designed to resist the maximum horizontal acceleration in lithified earth material for the site.
(VII) Unstable areas: DNR Rule 391-3-4-.05(1)(h) requires owners or operators of new landfill units, existing landfill units, and lateral expansions located in unstable areas to demonstrate that engineering measures have been incorporated in the landfill unit's design to ensure that the integrity of the structural components of the landfill unit will not be disrupted.
(VIII) Significant groundwater recharge areas: DNR Rule 391-3-4-.05(1)(j) requires new solid waste landfills or expansions of existing facilities within two miles of a significant groundwater recharge area to have liners and leachate collection systems, with the exception of facilities accepting waste generated from outside the county in which the facility is located. In that case, the facility must be totally outside of any area designated as a significant groundwater recharge area.
(iii) Required applicant actions relating to landfill siting. Applicants should always check with DNR and the local planning jurisdiction to verify procedures for siting solid waste management facilities that include but are not limited to the following:
(I) Disposal facility siting decision: DNR Rule 391-3-4-.05(1)(b) requires that whenever any applicant begins a process to select a site for a solid waste disposal facility, documentation demonstrating compliance with O.C.G.A. § 12-8-26(a) be submitted to EPD; further, whenever any applicant takes action resulting in a siting decision for a publicly or privately owned solid waste disposal facility, documentation demonstrating compliance with O.C.G.A. § 12-8-26(b) be submitted to EPD.
(II) Once a site has been selected, the applicant must conduct a Hydrological Assessment in accordance with the provisions of DNR Rule 391-3-4-.05(1)(k). Preparation of the land limitation element of a solid waste management plan should comply with the Solid Waste Management Act and the Rules of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for Solid Waste Management (Chapter 391-3-4) relating to historic sites, airports, jurisdictional boundaries, access, etc. These documents should be consulted for specifics on land limitations and siting of solid waste management facilities.
(III) If an applicant undertakes the Facilities Issues Negotiation Process pursuant to a facility siting decision, the process will be undertaken in accordance with O.C.G.A. § 12-8-32 and any guidelines issued by the Department pursuant to State law.
2. Provide a statement of needs and goals regarding land limitation issues for the planning area.
3. Plan Consistency: In order for EPD to issue or renew a permit for a solid waste handling facility the facility or facility expansion must be consistent with a local government solid waste management plan. The plan shall specify a procedure the local government( s) will follow to determine if a proposed facility, public or private, is consistent with the plan. At a minimum, the procedure shall address
(i) how the public will be involved and notified;
(ii) the anticipated impact the proposed facility will have upon current solid waste management facilities;
(iii) the anticipated impact the proposed facility will have upon adequate collection and disposal capability within the planning area; and
(iv) the effect the facility will have upon waste generated within the state achieving the States 25% per capita waste disposal reduction goal.
(c) Education and Public Involvement Element.
1. Inventory and assess current education programs and public involvement opportunities.
2. Based on the information gathered in the Waste Stream Element, the plan shall discuss the adequacy of the current education programs to target the appropriate waste generating sector(s) and waste stream(s).
3. Provide a statement of needs and goals based on the assessment of current programs as they relate to goals identified in the Waste Stream and Waste Reduction Elements. Educational program(s) considered in this section must focus on issues such as realistic and responsible solid waste management options, and the individual's responsibility for reducing the amount of solid waste generated, controlling litter, and supporting and participating in the community's solid waste management program(s). All educational programs must have source reduction (generate less waste) as a component.
(i) The establishment of local solid waste citizen advisory councils is encouraged as an effective vehicle for public involvement in local solid waste issues.
(ii) Specific programs to be considered in the plan are as follows:
(I) Local Government Programs: Include any current or proposed municipal or county education and public involvement programs, including Georgia's Keep America Beautiful affiliate activities, government sponsored volunteer programs, speaker's bureaus, media campaigns, public-private initiatives, and programs provided or coordinated by local government to schools.
(II) Solid Waste Advisory Committee/Task Force: If such exists, include number and composition of membership, the role or function of the group, how the group was established, and other pertinent details.
(III) School System Programs: Include current information on available educational programs.
(IV) Litter Control Programs: Include any local programs, ordinances, or other means of enforcement.
(V) Regional RDC programs: Include any current or proposed regional programs.
(6) Implementation Strategy. The final section of the plan is the Implementation Strategy. The Implementation Strategy represents a culmination of information gathered in the preceding elements. After all elements have been inventoried and assessed, and needs and goals have been identified, the plan must identify an implementation schedule for relevant current programs and future planned programs for each element.
(a) Programs identified in the implementation strategy must include specific actions which address the needs and goals expressed in the planning elements and which will help the State reach the statewide waste disposal reduction goal.
(b) Plans and programs presented in the implementation strategy must demonstrate ten-year collection capability and disposal capacity.
(c) The implementation strategy shall identify specific administrative responsibilities, contractual arrangements, and budgeting necessary to implement the Plan.
(d) The suggested presentation format for the Implementation Strategy is a table which identifies the year-by-year schedule for implementing the identified strategies. The table will include the five core elements and shall cover the whole ten-year planning time frame. The title of the table will include the names of all jurisdictions included in the plan. The column titles, across the top of the table will include: "Activity","Years the plan is covering","The party or parties responsible for managing the activity","Estimated cost of proposed programs" (for appropriate elements), and "Funding source." The first five years of the Implementation Strategy will serve as the first Short-Term Work Program. The second half of the Implementation Strategy will be updated in accordance with the planning schedule established and revised from time to time by the Department.

Notes

Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. R. 110-4-3-.04
O.C.G.A. Secs. 12-8-20et seq., 12-8-31.1.
Original Rule entitled "Minimum Planning Standards" adopted. F. Jan. 19, 1994; eff. Feb. 8, 1994. Repealed: New Rule of same title adopted. F. Aug. 21, 2003; eff. Sept. 10, 2003.

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