A Closer Look...
The Pollution Prevention Advisory Council (PPAC) was charged with making recommendations to enhance waste reduction efforts, improve hazardous waste management, and review hazardous waste management capacity needs of North Carolina businesses and industries. The 15-member council was created by the General Assembly in 1993 through enactment of House Bill 976 and met over the past year. Three committees were formed to address the three mandated issues under review. These committees, which include the Pollution Prevention Committee, the Regulatory Committee, and the Capacity Committee, represented a broad range of interest groups.
The council developed preliminary draft recommendations and held three public meetings on the recommendations in July 1994 in Greensboro, Wilmington, and Asheville. An abundance of public comments was received and reviewed by the council.
The chart, Issues Addressed in PPAC Recommendations, outlines general topic areas for the 60 final recommendations which the PPAC presented in mid-October.
Key Pollution Prevention Recommendations:
Pollution prevention facility planning is a key pollution prevention-related recommendation from the council. This recommendation proposes modification and clarification of the current State statutes (G.S. 130A 294(k) and G.S. 143.215) to require a multimedia pollution prevention plan which should contain a minimum of five basic elements:
- Pollution prevention commitment,
- Identification of past and present pollution prevention activities,
- Implementation timeline and strategies,
- Description of employee training efforts, and
- The establishment of internal quantitative or qualitative waste reduction goals.
The PPAC defined pollution prevention as source reduction and environmentally sound recycling. Environmentally sound recycling includes both recycling on site and off site and is defined as a recycling process that significantly minimizes the release and discharge of the constituents in the material being recycled.
Facility plans will be required by all industrial air and water quality permit holders, large and small quantity hazardous waste generators, and Significant Industrial Users (SIU) of municipal waters. An annual progress report will be required, although it is not required that either the plan nor the progress reports be submitted to the State; rather, they will be reviewed by the inspector on site. Copies of a plan abstract must be available to the public. To assist industry with the plan requirements, recommendations are also made to provide the Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources (DENR) with technical staff to assist industries in plan development and the development of guidance and training sessions by .
Statewide Waste Reduction Goal:
Another key pollution prevention recommendation is the establishment of a statewide 50-percent waste reduction goal to be achieved by the year 2005 for toxic chemical releases and off-site transfers of Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) chemicals. An important provision of this goal is a challenge to industry to achieve at least half the reduction through source reduction and environmentally sound recycling measures such as operational changes, material substitution, preventative programs, etc. State agencies will be subject to similar reduction goals.
Pollution Prevention Incentives:
Since the PPAC recognized that industries will encounter financial, regulatory, or technological barriers to pollution prevention, a number of incentives were also proposed. These include:
- a capital access fund for research and development activities,
- an increase in funding of the Pollution Prevention Challenge Grant Program, and
- a State recognition and honors program.
Recommendations include prioritizing state permit processing for source reduction and recycling activities, and developing guidance documents for on-site recycling practices.
Comprehensive Education Programs:
Other pollution prevention recommendations include a comprehensive program to educate children, the general public, and industry in North Carolina about the benefits and practices of pollution prevention. An industrial performance benchmarking study was also proposed along with an environmental technologies initiative to encourage development and recruitment of environmental technologies.
Issues Addressed in PPAC Recommendations
- Pollution prevention facility planning
- Statewide pollution prevention goal
- Pollution prevention incentives
- Industrial sector focus
- Environmental technologies
- Pollution prevention education
- Integrating pollution prevention into State agencies
- Non-point source pollution prevention
Hazardous Waste Regulations
- Public participation in environmental permitting decisions
- Risk assessment guidelines and protocol
- Regulatory barriers to pollution prevention
- Environmental permitting procedure
- Inspection/enforcement penalties
- Inactive sites
- Universal waste and other wastes
- Funding sources
Hazardous Waste Capacity
- Ability to permit commercial hazardous waste facilities
- "Needs" and local pre-emption requirements
- Environmental justice issues
Next Step for the PPAC
The recommendations were presented to the Governor, the Secretaries of and the Department of Commerce, and the Environmental Review Commission of the General Assembly. The departments will prioritize the recommendations and set out a strategy for their implementation. Some of the PPAC recommendations can be implemented through division policy changes while others will require statute changes and/or rulemaking. For further information about the PPAC recommendations, contact Jodi Bakst, PPAC Director, at (919) 715-4190.
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