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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE XVI PUBLIC HEALTH
  • CHAPTER 111 PUBLIC HEALTH
  • Section 150A Solid waste disposal facilities; maintenance and operation; applications for site assignment

Section 150A. As used in this section and in section one hundred and fifty A1/2 the following words shall, unless the context otherwise requires, have the following meanings:—

“Department”, the department of environmental protection.

“Facility”, a sanitary landfill, a refuse transfer station, a refuse incinerator rated by the department at more than one ton of refuse per hour, a resource recovery facility, a refuse composting plant, a dumping ground for refuse or any other works for treating, storing, or disposing of refuse.

“Refuse”, all solid or liquid waste materials, including garbage and rubbish, and sludge, but not including sewage, and those materials defined as hazardous wastes in section two of chapter twenty-one C and those materials defined as source, special nuclear or by-product material under the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954.

“Maintain”, to establish, keep or sustain the presence of a facility on a site, whether or not such facility is in operation and whether or not such facility has been closed.

No place in any city or town shall be maintained or operated by any person, including any political subdivision of the commonwealth, as a site for a facility, or as an expansion of an existing facility, unless, after a public hearing, such place has been assigned by the board of health of such city or town in accordance with the provisions of this section, or, in the case of a facility owned or operated by an agency of the commonwealth, such place has been assigned by the department after a public hearing and unless public notice of such assignment has been given by the board of health or the department, whichever is applicable.

The determination by the board of health, or the department in the case of a state agency, of whether to assign a place as a site for a facility, or for the expansion of an existing facility, shall be based upon the site suitability criteria established by the department in cooperation with the department of public health pursuant to section one hundred and fifty A 1/2, and any site assignment shall be subject to such limitations with respect to the extent, character and nature of the facility or expansion thereof as may be necessary to ensure that the facility or expansion thereof will not present a threat to the public health, safety or the environment.

Any person desiring to maintain or operate a site for a new facility or the expansion of an existing facility shall submit an application for a site assignment to the local board of health and simultaneously provide copies to the department and the department of public health. A copy of the application for site assignment shall be filed with the board of health of any municipality within one-half mile of the proposed site. Any municipality within such one-half mile shall be afforded all the procedural rights of an abutter for the purpose of administrative review by the department or public hearing by the board of health where the proposed site is located. The department shall, upon request by the board of health, provide advice, guidance and technical assistance to said board during its review of a site assignment application. The department and a board of health may enter into such other cooperative agreements in addition to those herein specified for the purpose of achieving an effective and expeditious review of the application. The board of health may charge a reasonable application fee to cover the costs of conducting a hearing and reviewing technical data submitted to the board. The application fee may also include a portion of the reasonable costs of other technical assistance. The application fee shall be established in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated by the department.

Within 60 days of receipt of the application, the department shall issue a report stating whether the proposed site meets the criteria established under section 150A1/2 for the protection of the public health and safety and the environment. Any such reports shall be made available to the public in a timely manner prior to any public hearing concerning the site application.

Within sixty days of receipt of said application, the department of public health shall review said application and comment thereon as to any potential impact of a site on the public health and safety. The department of public health may, in addition to its comment, make or cause to be made a public report, in writing, as it relates to an expansion of an existing facility or the assignment of a place as a site for a facility and provide said report with its written comments to the board of health. The department of public health shall coordinate and cooperate with a board of health on any matter relating to said public health report.

Within 30 days of the receipt of the department’s report, the board of health shall hold a public hearing satisfying the requirements of chapter thirty A. Within forty-five days of the initial date of such hearing, the board of health shall render its decision on whether to assign a site for a facility, in writing, accompanied by a statement of reasons therefor and publish notice of said decision including determinations of each issue of fact or law necessary to the decision.

No assignment shall be granted by the local board of health unless the department’s report affirms that the siting criteria of said section one hundred and fifty A1/2 have been met by the proposed site. The board of health shall consider the concerns, if any, relative to the public health and safety cited by the department of public health. A local board of health shall assign a place requested by an applicant as a site for a new facility or the expansion of an existing facility unless it makes a finding, based on the siting criteria established by said section one hundred and fifty A 1/2, that the siting thereof would constitute a danger to the public health or safety or the environment.

Any person aggrieved by a decision of a board of health in assigning or refusing to assign a place as a site for a new facility, or expanding or refusing to expand an existing facility, except a resource recovery facility in operation or under construction prior to July first, nineteen hundred and eighty-seven, may, within thirty days of the publication of notice of such decision, appeal under the provisions of section fourteen of chapter thirty A. For the limited purposes of such an appeal, a local board of health shall be deemed to be a state agency under the provisions of said chapter thirty A and its proceedings and decision shall be deemed to be a final decision in an adjudicatory proceeding.

No facility shall be established, constructed, expanded, maintained, operated or devoted to any past closure as defined by regulation unless detailed operating plans, specifications, any public health reports and necessary environmental reports have been submitted to the department, the department has granted a permit for the facility and notice of the permit is recorded in the registry of deeds, or if the land affected thereby is registered land in the registry section of the land court for the district wherein the land lies. Within 120 days after the department is satisfied that the operating plans, specifications and reports are complete, the department shall make a decision granting or refusing to grant a permit. The permit may limit or prohibit the disposal of particular types of solid waste at a facility in order to protect the public health, promote reuse, waste reduction and recycling, extend the useful life of the facility, or reduce its environmental impact.

Every decision by the department granting or refusing to grant a permit shall be in writing and shall contain findings with regard to criteria established by the department. Any person aggrieved by the action of the department in granting or refusing to grant a permit may appeal that decision under section 14 of chapter 30A. For the limited purposes of any such appeal, the department action shall be deemed to be a final decision in an adjudicatory proceeding.

Every person maintaining or operating a facility, including every political subdivision of the commonwealth, shall maintain and operate the same in such manner as will protect the public health and safety and the environment. Upon determination that the operation or maintenance of a facility results in a threat to the public health and safety or the environment, such site assignment decision by a board of health may be rescinded or suspended or may be modified through the imposition or amendment of conditions, at any time after due notice and public hearing satisfying the requirements of section eleven of chapter thirty A by the board of health of the city or town where such facility is located or by the department. Any person aggrieved by the decision of the board of health or the department in rescinding, suspending or modifying a site assignment may appeal said decision within thirty days of the publication of notice thereof pursuant to the provisions of section fourteen of chapter thirty A. For the limited purposes of such an appeal a local board of health shall be deemed a state agency under the provisions of said chapter thirty A and said decision shall be deemed to be a final decision in an adjudicatory proceeding and the decision of the department shall be deemed to be a final decision in an adjudicatory proceeding. The department may rescind, suspend or modify the permit upon a determination that the operation or maintenance of the facility results in a threat to the public health and safety or to the environment. Any person aggrieved by such decision of the department may, within thirty days of the publication of notice thereof, appeal said decision pursuant to the provisions of chapter thirty A.

If a facility is a landfill owned or operated by any person other than a town or agency of the commonwealth, such person shall pay to the town where the facility is located an amount in accordance with the provisions of section twenty-four A of chapter sixteen for each ton of solid waste which is disposed of in such landfill. On or before the twentieth day of each month every such person shall file a return subscribed under the penalties of perjury with the board of health of the town in which such facility is located, on such form as the commissioner of environmental protection shall require for determination of the fee imposed by this paragraph. Said fee shall be due and payable on or before the due date of the return. Notwithstanding the foregoing, however, no fee shall be required or collected from an owner of a privately owned facility used by the owner thereof for the sole disposal of refuse generated from his own premises, and no such return need be filed.

No person shall dispose or contract for the disposal of solid waste at any place which has not been approved by the department pursuant to the provisions of this section or other applicable law.

The department shall allow any unlined landfill, owned or operated by a municipality or a solid waste district, to continue accepting refuse in compliance with existing approvals after January first, nineteen hundred and ninety-four; provided, that said municipality or district files a statement of intent with the department on or before August fifteenth, nineteen hundred and ninety-three, as to its intent to continue in operation after January first, nineteen hundred and ninety-four; provided further, that any landfill for which a statement of intent has been submitted shall operate in accordance with applicable federal and state statutes, regulations, existing approvals, and provisions included herein. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “existing approval” shall include any permit, site assignment, plan approval, condition of operation, or any other applicable order or rule governing the operations of a landfill issued or granted by a municipality, the department, or any other agency of the commonwealth, or for which an application was pending as of May first, nineteen hundred and ninety-three, when granted in accordance with applicable regulations; provided, that no such application shall be denied arbitrarily and capriciously. Any municipality or district which does not file such a statement of intent shall cease accepting refuse no later than January first, nineteen hundred and ninety-four, and shall commence closure of the landfill under its control subject to the approval of the department in accordance with regulations promulgated by the department. On or before October first, nineteen hundred and ninety-three, the department shall compile and publish a list of all landfills for which a statement of intent has been filed and classify separately, as supported by scientific data, those landfills which pose a significant threat to the public health, safety, or the environment, those landfills which pose a potential threat, and those landfills for which current scientific data demonstrate little or no present discernible threat or for which current data is inconclusive. In classifying landfills, the department shall utilize all available scientific data, including, without limitation, any scientific data submitted by the municipality or the district and any additional scientific data generated by the department relative to an assessment of the actual or potential migration of leachate or other contaminants off the site of the landfill. The department shall publish the list and accept public comment on said list. The department shall, if requested by November first, nineteen hundred and ninety-three, by the chief executive officer of a municipality or a district with a landfill on the list, participate in a public meeting in the municipality or district to be scheduled at mutual convenience within sixty days of such request. By February first, nineteen hundred and ninety-four, the department shall issue a final revised list taking into account any additional information generated or received through the comment and meeting process. The department shall work in conjunction with a municipality or a district to establish a schedule for the municipality or district to commence and complete closure of the landfill, considering the risks posed by the landfill and the fiscal capacity of the municipality or district to be incorporated in a consent order. If an agreement is not reached, the department may order any landfill which is classified as a significant threat to public health, safety or the environment to cease operations and commence closure, or take such other action as the department deems necessary; provided, that the municipality or district may request an adjudicatory hearing on such order pursuant to chapter thirty A. A municipality or district operating a landfill classified by the department as a potential threat shall no later than July first, nineteen hundred and ninety-four, install a groundwater monitoring system approved by the department, and shall report the results of such monitoring to the department no more than quarterly thereafter. A municipality or district operating a landfill for which the department has determined little or no present discernible threat exists or for which current data is inconclusive shall no later than January first, nineteen hundred and ninety-five, install a groundwater monitoring system approved by the department, and shall report the results of such monitoring to the department no more than quarterly thereafter. It shall be a violation of this section to falsify or falsely report any monitoring results. If the results of such groundwater monitoring or other site specific assessment indicate that a landfill does pose a threat to public health, safety or environment, the department shall work in conjunction with a municipality or a district to establish a schedule for the municipality or district to commence and complete closure of the landfill, considering the risks posed by the landfill and the fiscal capacity of the municipality or district to be incorporated in a consent order. If an agreement is not reached, the department may order the municipality or district to cease operations and commence closure, or to take such other action as the department deems necessary; provided, that the municipality or district may request an adjudicatory hearing on such order pursuant to chapter thirty A. Nothing in this paragraph shall preclude the department from acting to address violations of this section, chapter twenty-one E or the regulations promulgated thereunder.

No site on which a facility was operated shall be conveyed or leased by the owner thereof, or be devoted to any use other than the operation of a facility, until notice that such facility was operated on the site is recorded in the registry of deeds, or if the land affected thereby be registered land, in the registry section of the land court for the district wherein the land lies. No site on which a facility was operated shall be used for any other purpose without the prior written approval of the department.

The department shall adopt and may from time to time amend rules and regulations, and the commissioner may issue orders, to enforce the provisions of this section. Any person, including any political subdivision of the commonwealth who violates this section, or any order issued pursuant thereto, or any rule or regulation promulgated hereunder (1) shall be subject to a fine of not more than twenty-five thousand dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than two years in a house of correction, or both, for each such violation; or (2) shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars for each such violation. Each day each such violation occurs or continues shall be deemed a separate offense. These penalties shall be in addition to any other penalties that may be prescribed by law.

The superior court shall have jurisdiction in equity to enforce the provisions of this section upon petition of the department or any aggrieved person.

Ash produced from the combustion of coal, including but not limited to fly ash and bottom ash, shall not be construed as refuse, rubbish, garbage, or waste material under this section when used as a raw material for concrete block manufacture, aggregate, fill, base for road construction, or other commercial or industrial purpose, or stored for such use. A location where such use or storage takes place may be constructed, established, maintained, and operated without being construed as a facility or site for a facility under this section, and no assignment or approval from the board of health or the department shall be required for such construction, establishment, maintenance, or operation; provided, however, the department shall have jurisdiction to determine, after notice and hearing, that the establishment or operation of such a location has created a nuisance condition by reason of odor, dust, fires, smoke, the breeding or harboring of rodents, flies or vermin, or other causes, and to prevent or order abatement thereof; and provided, further, that no final disposal of ash produced by the combustion of coal may be accomplished by burial of such ash in the ground, other than as base for road construction or fill, unless the place where such disposal takes place has been assigned for such disposal by the board of health and plans for such disposal have been approved by the department pursuant to this section. The department may waive the requirements of the preceding paragraphs of this section and the application of any regulations, or portions thereof, promulgated under the preceding paragraphs of this section as they may apply to the disposal by burial of ash produced by the burning of coal, and shall review and may approve the plans, site and method of storage upon a determination that no nuisance is created and damage to the environment is minimal. Use of ash produced from the combustion of coal as intermediate cover material over rubbish at sanitary landfill facilities may be permitted by assignment of the board of health with approval of the department under this section.