Annual Report for VBC’s Code of Good Practice

Green Field

The Board of Directors of the Virginia Biosolids Council (VBC) established a Code of Good Practice in 2009.  It was updated in 2015. The Code establishes a set of guiding principles for the production and beneficial land application of biosolids in Virginia for its members.

The Virginia Biosolids Council

Today, the VBC is a focused and dedicated organization of municipal utilities and contractors that beneficially reuse or recycle biosolids.  It was established to provide education and information on the recycling, beneficial use and generation of biosolids, and to provide support to its members on regulatory, legislative and public matters.

The decision to implement a Code of Good Practice represented broad recognition by the membership of the VBC to implement common sense best management practices that reflect the social responsibility that comes with the land application and recycling of biosolids. VBC members and their organizations agree to follow the guiding principles of the Code.

The Code of Good Practice has three guiding principles: (1) focus member operations on protecting the environment by using best management practices for the generation and recycling of biosolids; (2) minimize adverse social impacts through the use of best practices; and (3) promote education and awareness with the public and government officials about the generation and recycling of biosolids.

State of the Code

Sharing best practices and reviewing regulatory compliance are hallmarks of the member participation of the Code of Good Practice and reflects the goals and commitment of the VBC’s members.  This includes an expectation of compliance by all VBC companies or organizations involved in management of biosolids; a commitment to common sense application and the social responsibility that comes with the generation and land application and reuse of biosolids; and a reminder to “do the right thing”.

Executive Performance Summary

Under the direction of the Board of Directors, the Council made the decision that a Code of Good Practice would transform and enhance the culture and accountability of biosolids generation and use in the Virginia.  In addition to regularly providing safety and health information, recycling and use information, the Council committed to evaluating annually how the Council’s members met the objectives provided in the Code of Good Practice.  This section includes an account of the VBC’s member performance during 2017. The VBC uses as an indicator of compliance publicly available information maintained by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). 

    • In 2017, approximately 146,000 dry tons of biosolids was beneficially used on approximately 46,000 acres of farm and forestland in Virginia (<1% of total farm and forestland in Virginia[1]). VBC members were responsible for 100% of this beneficial reuse in Virginia. In 2017, members of the Virginia Biosolids Council responsible for the land application of biosolids on farms and forests received 2 warning letters.

    • In 2017, DEQ reported 23 complaints from the public specific to biosolids activities.  These complaints can be characterized in the following manner: (a) odor; (b) signage; (c) general management; and (d) transportation. Since the initial approval of the Code of Good Practice in 2009, according to publicly available records, the number of complaints from the public during the land application of biosolids has decreased from 106 complaints (2009) to 23 (2017), a 78.3% reduction over eight years.

    • In 2017, Council members were responsible for one spill on a public roadway.  Members responded immediately with the implementation of incident and emergency response efforts, in coordination with state and local officials.

    • DEQ regulations were changed in 2013, requiring property owners adjacent to an application site be notified about the application and use of biosolids.  VBC members work with DEQ to address citizen questions or concerns that originate either during a public comment period or a public meeting. As an example, in 2017 Recyc Systems agreed to voluntarily remove a field from its proposed permit following discussions with neighbors, regulatory officials and the county’s Board of Supervisors.

    • In 2017, Arlington County, which produces approximately 36,000 wet tons of Class B biosolids each year, worked with the Metropolitan Council of Governments on a Protect Your Pipes program¾an education campaign for utility customers to properly dispose of expired medication, grease and non-flushable wipes to reduce the levels of undesirable materials coming into the municipal utility system.

    • And, in 2017 DC Water received its permit to distribute and market its Exceptional Quality Bloom biosolids product in Virginia, after working with a variety of stakeholders to develop a two-year pilot permit ¾ the first of its kind in Virginia.

The Virginia Biosolids Council believes it has continued to steadily improve the quality of the biosolids generated by its members, the responsibility for recycling and land application of biosolids throughout Virginia and is adhering to the guidance provided in the Code of Good Practice, adopted by the Board of Directors most recently in October 2015.  This is the second annual report card to be issued by the Virginia Biosolids Council.

 

Biosolids Complaints

Calendar Year

Calendar Year

2009 106
2010 143
2011 180
2012 84
2013 36
2014 31
2015 38
2016

39

2017

23

 

Acres Spread

Calendar Year

Dry Tons Spread

Acres Spread

2009 204,879  60,100
2010 230,142  66,800
2011 220,534 66,000
2012 225,314 62,300
2013 184,590  52,100
2014

190,065

 45,141
2015 120,219  35,396
2016

145,920

 49,835

2017

146,000

 46,000

 

Biosolids Compliance

Calendar Year

Warning Letters

Notices of Violation

2009 8  1
2010 11  1
2011 6 2
2012 6 0
2013 7 1
2014

8

 0
2015 7  2
2016

1

0

2017

2

0

 

 

Questions concerning this report can be addressed at info@virginiabiosolids.com.

Michael T. McEvoy
President, Virginia Biosolids Council
Executive Director of Wastewater Services
Western Virginia Water Authority

 

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