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Senator Ken LaValle, Assemblyman Steve Englebright Announce New Law to Ensure Water Quality in Commercial Composting Facilities

New regulations will minimize environmental harm and establish regulations for dust control and odor suppression.

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Office of Senator Ken LaValle.

Photo by: NY State Senator Ken LaValle.

Long Island, NY - December 1, 2017 - Senator Ken LaValle and Assemblyman Steve Englebright announce the signing of their legislation to ensure water quality in commercial composting facilities and land clearing facilities located in Suffolk and Nassau Counties. The new Law (S3213) directs the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to promulgate rules and regulations to prevent water quality degradation from these types of operations. Additionally, rules will be established for dust and odor suppression along with fire risk minimization.
Senator LaValle said, “The number of facilities that process debris and/or conduct mulching operations have grown significantly over recent years.  The tremendous increase in volume of unregulated material handled at these sites impacts residents’ quality of life. Our new Law addresses specific areas of concern with commercial operations to ensure that our water, air and other areas of our environment are not adversely impacted.These operations also create noise and excessive amounts of dust and odors from unknown content, which permeate large swaths of the surrounding neighborhood. The bill enables the DEC to properly regulate these facilities.”
Assemblyman Englebright said, “Long Island’s population of approximately three million people receives its drinking water from a sole source aquifer. Although Long Island’s soil composition helps ensure a plentiful groundwater supply, this same composition allows contaminants to leach into the groundwater. Recent studies have highlighted the potential for adverse water quality impacts as a result of large compost and mulch facilities. This legislation will help preserve and protect Long Island’s water quality by ensuring that environmental protections are in place.”
The new Law adds a section § 15-0517 to the Environmental Conservation Law and direct the Department of Environmental Conservation to promulgate rules  and  regulations to prevent water quality and other environmental impairments resulting from land clearing debris facilities or composting facilities.
The regulations requires:
  • Quarterly up gradient and down gradient water quality testing;
  • Setbacks from  drinking  water  supply  wells  and  surface  water bodies; and
  • Dust and odor suppression and fire risk minimization.
The  department shall in the case of a primary recharge area promulgate rules and  regulations to be implemented to prevent water quality and other environmental impairments resulting from land clearing debris facilities or composting facilities by requiring the use of an impermeable liner, as a result of commercial land clearing debris or compost facilities.
The new law will take effect January 1, 2018.