A NEW administrative order providing the ground rules for establishments keen to open and manage a waste-to-energy (WTE) facility for municipal solid wastes has been released by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) over the weekend.
The rules are contained in National Solid Waste Management Commission Resolution (NSWMC) 669 entitled “Adopting the Guidelines Governing the Establishment and Operation of Waste to Energy Technologies for Municipal Solid Wastes,” signed on June 9 by the NSWMC and adopted by the DENR.
NSWMC Resolution 669 aims to protect public health and the environment and sets guidelines and targets for minimizing solid wastes through measures such as composting, recycling, reusing, recovery, green charcoal process, and others before the wastes are collected and disposed of.
A WTE facility is defined as an area where waste-to-energy operations are housed. “Waste-to-energy” refers to the process of converting non-recyclable waste materials into usable energy such as heat, electricity, or fuel.
The resolution lays down the registration and permit requirements, standards, and procedures for establishing and operating commercial-scale WTE technologies for managing municipal solid wastes.
It covers the WTE facility’s pre-operational phase; waste delivery, quality, and operational control; pollution abatement; environmental monitoring; documentation and monitoring; social safeguards; and decommissioning or closure.
Under the guidelines, all necessary permits, registrations, and other legal documents must be secured and an environment/health risk assessment conducted before the facility can be constructed and operated.
Because they will be a source of air pollution, WTE facilities are also required to register beforehand with the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).
They must also submit to the NSWMC a certified true copy of the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC); all permits, plans, and legal documents required by the ECC; business permit from the local government where the facility is to be located; and Commission resolutions on the approval of the 10-year solid waste management plan of the host and of those intending to provide feedstock to the facility.
The order prohibits the use of non-segregated municipal solid wastes and hazardous wastes as WTE materials.
Once the WTE facility is operational, it is required to submit quarterly self-monitoring reports, document all aspects of operations and make all records available for inspection, and maintain a billboard containing updated information on its air emissions and wastewater effluents, among others.
If the establishment is to be decommissioned or closed, it has to file an abandonment plan at least a year before, which should include rehabilitation and remedial measures, cleanup activities, and proposed alternative projects in the area.