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Permits Registrations Approvals and Closures

The Office of Land Quality (OLQ) issues permits, registrations, or approvals to regulated facilities and operations to ensure solid waste, hazardous waste, manure, biosolids, and septage are properly managed, disposed of, or land applied as allowed by laws and rules. A facility with various types of wastes may need multiple permits or registrations. Certain activities only have rule requirements and do not need IDEM approval. IDEM inspects these facilities for compliance with the rules. Only permitted or regulated facilities may accept regulated waste materials, unless those materials are exempt from the rules for certain recycling, reuse, or reclamation activities.

A permit or registration is a legally binding document that establishes the waste management activities that a facility can conduct and the conditions under which it can conduct them. It outlines or references facility design; process information; and emergency, employee training, and closure plans. Once a permit or registration is issued, OLQ monitors the facility to ensure that it is complying with the conditions of the permit or registration. OLQ permits or registrations do not replace approvals that may be required by other federal, state, or local agencies.

The Application Process

When OLQ receives a permit or registration application from a facility, staff review it to determine if it complies with the rules. IDEM follows certain procedures and timeframes for processing depending upon the type of application. Generally, the review process can take anywhere from 30 days to a year.

Different rules require either the facility and/or IDEM to notify the adjoining property owners and interested parties, when applicable. Typically, IDEM also notifies certain public officials (e.g., mayors and local health departments). Members of the public may submit written comments about the proposal to permit staff and/or to their local officials and state legislators.

IDEM encourages applicants to contact the OLQ permit staff before submitting a new permit or registration application to ensure they understand the process and the rule requirements.

Regulated Waste Activities and Facilities

Solid waste, hazardous waste, toxic control substance act (TSCA) waste, used oil, electronic waste, septage, biosolids, etc., are regulated by statutes or rules. Certain activities are regulated only by rule and do not need IDEM approval.

Solid waste and hazardous waste programs each have a permitting/approval process:

Certain solid waste facilities are required to have certified operators (329 IAC 12) onsite. Solid Waste Operator Certification [PDF] provides additional information.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action refers to requirements for investigating potential releases and performing cleanups at on-site areas other than the permitted hazardous waste units (e.g., spills from process operations).

Closure of Units

At the end of the operation, a unit and/or facility will need to close the unit(s) by properly removing and disposing all remaining waste and decontaminating or waste in-place closure.

There are two types of closures:

  • Closure by removal (this includes removal or decontamination)
    • This could be clean closure or risk based closure. It refers to the process of removing all waste from a unit and any releases at, or from, the unit to protect human health and the environment.
  • Closure with waste or contamination remaining in place.
    • This requires measures, referred to as controls, to prevent public exposure. The two types of controls are engineered controls and institutional controls. Land disposal units use engineered controls such as capping and post-closure maintenance of liners and final covers, leachate collection and removal systems, leak detection systems, and gas collection systems. The standard post-closure care period is 30 years, but it can be extended, if appropriate. Institutional controls such as land use or deed restrictions are used to ensure future property owners are aware of any limitations on redevelopment and stabilized contaminants are not disturbed.

Most operating facilities units must have a closure plan. The plan details include the amount of waste kept on site, a schedule of closure for the unit(s), a schedule of closure for the facility, the planned methods for closing each unit, and the planned methods for closing the entire facility. The closure plan for permitted facilities and certain operating facilities must be approved by OLQ. This approved plan must be followed when the facility ceases operation of a unit or facility.

OLQ approval is required to properly close inactive wastewater surface impoundments, including Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) surface impoundments. CCR units must also comply with the federal Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) rule (40 CFR 257 Subpart D). Indiana has adopted the federal rules for CCR surface impoundments by reference at 329 IAC 10-9-1. Closure can be removal of waste or by closing in place with a final cover system and ground water monitoring.