Public Comment Open for Revisions to NH Composting Regulations

Public Hearing December 13 & Written Comments Deadline December 20

The NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) has published proposed revisions to the requirements for solid waste composting facilities in New Hampshire, including those affecting the composting of meat and dairy products.  The public comment period is now open.  The proposed revisions aim to address the feedback that NHDES has received from stakeholders over the years.  The goal of the rulemaking is to clarify and simplify requirements for food waste composting and potentially make it easier to develop additional infrastructure for organics diversion in New Hampshire.  NRRA member communities in New Hampshire are encouraged to review the proposed revised rules and provide comments orally at a December 13th public hearing or in writing before December 20, 2021.  

Stakeholders have been waiting for proposed revisions to New Hampshire's composting regulations for years.  NH HB 413 directed NHDES to enact revised rules by September 30, 2021, though HB 413 was only signed into law in August.  A similar law requiring such rule updates was passed in 2015, though it did not include a deadline for the rules to be updated.  Currently, in order for a solid waste facility to compost meat and dairy products in New Hampshire, it must undergo an extensive and expensive permit process.  This and other impediments have resulted in very few facilities in New Hampshire--such as Lebanon--composting meat and dairy products on site.  Until the composting regulations have been revised, NHDES has made pathways available to compost meat and dairy that involve requesting that NHDES waive certain current regulations.  Learn more about current food scrap composting regulations in New Hampshire.  

Written comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to swpublic.comment@des.nh.gov until 4:00pm on December 20, 2021. Additionally, there will be a public hearing on December 13th to receive oral comments. Written comments may be submitted without attending the public hearing.

Proposed Rules & Public Hearing Details

Note that NH rulemaking procedures require NHDES to split the proposed revisions into two separate rulemakings: one repeals definitions in Env-Sw 100, the other contains amendments to Env-Sw 400, 600 & 1500, which represents the bulk of the changes. As a result, the link above shows two separate rule packages and back-to-back hearings on December 13, the first hearing starting at 1:00pm for the proposed definition change, and the second starting at 1:30 PM for the rest of the changes. These hearings will be held in the same room at the NHDES offices and will also be accessible online using GoToWebinar.