According to the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission report on biosolids prepared in 2017, “localities indicated that their monitoring programs are valuable to them because they allow them to be responsive to constituents and add an extra level of assurance. Local monitors can promptly respond to calls, meet with residents, and provide information about nearby land applications. Localities report that having a local employee handle these activities often puts residents more at ease. The locality that conducts well water tests indicated that the testing helps to ease citizen concerns. Monitors can also inspect application sites, which promotes compliance with state regulations.”
The Virginia General Assembly provides local governments more oversight over biosolids recycling in the Code of Virginia (Section 62.1-44.19:3). This portion of the Code was amended in 2015 when the General Assembly approved legislation that would create a similar program for industrial residuals — organic waste products from meat/food processing plants and paper mills.
What Monitors Can Do
The Virginia Biosolids Fee Guidance Manual provides information for local monitoring activities. Some of the activities for local biosolids monitors, or other government officials designated to conduct monitoring activities, are described below:
- Reviewing permit information related to health and environmental protection issues
- Site monitoring, sample collection and delivery and examination of records
- Site inspections (prior to land application, during and following biosolids application)
- Ordering the abatement of any violation of state regulations (in consultation with DEQ)
- Verifying sign notices, setback distances, and site management
- Assessing post application runoff
- Managing records, including data entry, communications, developing reports
- Responding to issues complaints, including contact with the public and state officials
- Collecting samples and testing
These regulations allow a county to approve a local ordinance and enabling it to assign an individual to monitor the application of regulated biosolids within its boundaries.
Under a state-approved ordinance, a local monitor is trained by the state (Virginia Department of Environmental Quality personnel) and is permitted to test and monitor the land application of biosolids to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Monitors may also order the abatement of any violation of state regulations.
Localities that have local ordinances cannot enforce more restrictive conditions on the land application of biosolids than already exist in the state program.
The Virginia DEQ maintains a record of trained local monitors. Not all of the counties who have trained and certified monitors apply for reimbursement. According to Virginia’s DEQ, only four counties apply for reimbursement from the “Management Fund” – Clarke, Culpeper, Nottoway, and Westmoreland counties.
Most recently, in October, Loudon County’s Board of Supervisors directed staff to perform a resource and cost analysis associated with the adoption and implementation of a Biosolids Monitoring and Testing Ordinance and local authority to regulate the storage of biosolids
To see a full list of trained local monitors, click here.