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Indiana Department of Environmental Management

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Indiana Department of Environmental Management


Table of Contents: Land Quality

Land Application

Biosolids and Industrial Waste Products

Biosolids are primarily organic materials produced during wastewater treatment which may contain water, as well as, nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, calcium, magnesium and iron. Biosolids may also contain bacteria and various amounts of pollutants.

Generated by industrial operations, industrial waste products may be organic or inorganic and may exhibit value as a source of nutrients. Examples of materials are waste paper fibers, food processing wastes and pharmaceutical manufacturing by-products. Land application is the process of using biosolids and industrial waste products as soil amendments. Materials are usually spread on the land or injected below the land surface.

Anyone wishing to land apply these materials, after the standards have been met, must first receive a permit from IDEM's OLQ Land Application program. IDEM issues two types of permits for land application of biosolids and industrial waste products:

  • Non Site-Specific Land Application Permit, which authorizes the application of biosolids and industrial process waste products on any agricultural land within given counties, but does not specify any particular sites that the permittee is limited to.
  • Site-Specific Land Application Permit, which lists those sites on which a permittee may land apply biosolids or industrial waste products.

IDEM also offers a hybrid permit that allows a combination of both Non Site-Specific and Site-Specific land application. Additionally, anyone wanting to market or distribute biosolids and industrial waste products must first receive a Marketing and Distribution Permit from the IDEM land application program.

The IDEM Land Application program also requires a Pollutant-Bearing Water Land Application permit prior to any land application of pollutant-bearing water. Pollutant-Bearing water (according to the Indiana Administrative Code under 327 IAC 6.1-2-46) means domestic wastewater, industrial process wastewater, or industrial storm water. Construction of off-site storage structures also is regulated by the IDEM's OLQ Land Application program and may require either a notification or an approval to construct through submission of a construction permit application.

Application Information

  • Applicants must provide notification, within 10 working days of application submittal, to all adjacent landowners or their current occupants;
  • Provide a list of potentially affected persons who may be affected by land application operations;
  • Provide analytical data that ensures biosolids, industrial waste products, and pollutant-bearing waters are within U.S. EPA and IDEM standards for eligibility of land application;
  • Obtain the proper permit prior to land application; and,
  • Adhere to land application management practices described in the Indiana Administrative Code under 327 IAC 6.1.

There is no fee associated with any IDEM Land Application permit. Permit applications for land application activities must be submitted at least one hundred eighty (180) days prior to the proposed commencement of operation. Land application permits are usually processed within 180 days. Permits are initially issued for five years, and renewed for up to ten years.

The construction of storage lagoons at land application sites does not require a Wastewater Facilities Construction Permit from IDEM; however, it will require prior approval from Land Application staff. Regulations are provided in the Indiana Administrative Code under 327 IAC 3-2-4 (1-7).

For information relating to foundry sand, see IC 13-19-3-7 "Use of foundry sand", and IDEM's guidance from the Office of Land Quality entitled Use of Foundry Sand in Accordance with House Enrolled Act 1541 [PDF].

Transferring Land Application Permits

As detailed in the Indiana Administrative Code under 327 IAC 6.1-3-5, land application permits are transferable from the current permit holder (permittee) to another person. To transfer a land application permit, the permittee must notify IDEM at least 45 days before the proposed date of the transfer. The permittee and the new owner (transferee) must also submit to IDEM a written agreement specifying the date of the transfer, and establishing that the permittee is responsible for compliance with the permit up to that date, while the transferee is responsible for compliance after the transfer date.