Application of Refuse Disposal Permit Requirements to Combustion of Refuse Derived Fuel

The State and national focus on development of renewable and alternative energy sources has prompted renewed interest in the development of waste-to-energy facilities and a growing interest in the use of refuse derived fuel as a substitute for conventional fuel in industrial processes.  Refuse derived fuel covers a wide range of waste materials which have been processed to fulfill industry specifications or regulatory guidelines or requirements.  Processing can range from simple shredding to production of highly engineered material that bears little or no physical resemblance to solid waste. 

Currently, Maryland law requires a refuse disposal permit for solid waste incinerators and waste-to-energy incinerators that combust solid waste, in addition to stringent requirements for the control of air emissions through approvals issued by the Department’s Air and Radiation Management Administration.  The Department, however, acknowledges that existing solid waste regulations did not contemplate a new generation of processed or engineered refuse derived fuels. 

To ensure clear standards for facilities proposing to use processed or engineered refuse derived fuels, the Department is developing a proposal for new regulations to provide clear requirements for the application of solid waste permitting and other solid waste requirements for use of refuse derived fuel in its various forms.  The Department expects to have a regulatory framework available for stakeholder input in 2011.

Until new regulations are adopted, the Department will review proposed uses of refuse derived fuel to determine whether a refuse disposal permit is required.  We strongly recommend that project sponsors schedule a meeting with the Department prior to submitting a request to review the proposed concept and permitting requirements.  At that meeting, a schedule for review will be determined.

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For more information, please contact the Solid Waste Program Operations Division at (410) 537-3315.

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