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May 2010 Archives

May 12, 2010

DEC Releases Draft Solid Waste Management Plan

On May 5, 2010, DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis announced the release of the draft Solid Waste Management Plan entitled “Beyond Waste: A Sustainable Materials Management Strategy for New York.”

The plan sets forth a new approach for the state – a shift from focusing on “end of pipe” waste management to reducing waste from the start – that will help minimize waste, increase the use of materials that can be reused or recycled, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase green jobs. The proposed solid waste management framework seeks to bring municipalities, businesses and individuals together to significantly reduce the amount of materials destined for landfills and municipal waste combustion.

According to DEC, by recycling, composting, preventing waste and maximizing reuse, waste would be reduced by 15 percent every two years -- from approximately 14 million tons (as collected in 2008) to 2 million tons annually in 2018. According to DEC, New York last issued a Solid Waste Management Plan in 1987. It placed a priority on preventing waste and made recycling mandatory. However, despite an increase in the awareness of recycling and reuse among the public and significant efforts by local governments, New York still generates about the same amount of waste today as in 1990 and only 20 percent of the municipal solid waste is being recycled.

The recommendations detailed in the plan include: (1) a new broad policy with a focus on waste prevention; (2) support for progressive solid waste and sustainable materials management; (3) education for consumers and businesses to help them reduce their generation of waste and recycle what cannot be reduced; and (4) a stronger emphasis on product and packaging stewardship, to extend waste responsibility to manufacturers and, thereby, encourage them to use more recyclable and less toxic materials.

May 13, 2010

DEC Issues Notice of Availability of Proposed Commissioner Policy Regarding Climate Change

On May 11, 2010, DEC announced that it had prepared a proposed Commissioner Policy on Climate Change and DEC Action.

The proposed policy directs DEC staff, to the extent applicable and within their existing statutory and regulatory authority, to incorporate climate change considerations in all aspects of DEC’s activities, including but not limited to decision-making, planning, permitting, remediation, rulemaking, grants administration, natural resource management, enforcement, land stewardship and facilities management, internal operations, contracting, procurement, and public outreach and education.

The Policy includes five components that are intended to integrate climate change considerations into DEC activities:

(1) greenhouse gas reduction goals and the integration of specific mitigation objectives into applicable DEC programs, actions and activities;

(2) climate change adaptation goals and the integration of specific mitigation objectives into applicable DEC programs, actions and activities;

(3) climate change factors to guide DEC programs, activities and decisions;

(4) the designation of climate change coordinators and formation of a DEC Climate Action Team; and

(5) an annual climate change programmatic review to identify specific actions that will be taken that further the Policy's climate change goals and objectives.

May 17, 2010

City of Oswego Agrees to Spend $87 Million to Upgrade Sewer System

On May 13, 2010, EPA and the Department of Justice announced that the City of Oswego has agreed to invest an estimated $87 million in capital improvements to resolve long-standing problems with unpermitted sewer overflows into the Oswego River and Lake Ontario.

In a proposed consent decree lodged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, the City also agreed to pay a $99,000 fine. Pursuant to the settlement, the City has agreed to undertake a comprehensive program to bring its west side sewer system into Clean Water Act compliance. The west side system serves some 10,000 people in the city, which is located beside Lake Ontario in upstate New York and has a total population of 18,000. Specific measures in the agreement include separating at least 75 percent of the combined sewer system into sanitary and stormwater components, expanding the west side wastewater treatment plant’s capacity by 50 percent, reducing the inflow of rain water from catch basins into the existing sanitary sewer system, improving system operation and maintenance, and making financing reforms.

According to DOJ, the system carries sewage to a wastewater treatment plant prior to discharge into Lake Ontario, but it can discharge contaminated stormwater and untreated human and industrial waste from combined sewer overflows during periods of heavy rainfall or snowmelt. The proposed agreement is subject to a 30-day public comment period. United States v. Oswego (N.D. N.Y . consent decree proposed April 13, 2010).

About May 2010

This page contains all entries posted to Envirosphere in May 2010. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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