New silica rule takes effect

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new silica standard as it applies to the construction industry began on Sept. 23, 2017.

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Though it became enforceable in late September, OSHA issued a memorandum stating in the first 30 days of enforcement, it would “evaluate good faith efforts taken by employers in their attempts to meet the new construction silica standard.” Additionally, OSHA says it will render compliance assistance and outreach to assure that “covered employees are fully and properly complying with its requirements.”

Milwaukee-based Construction & Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA) Executive Director William Turley, in an email sent to members states, “Large segments of the construction industry, including concrete crushers, will not be able to be in compliance. However, because of earlier work CDRA did on the rule, it is not as onerous as it could be.”

The silica rule lowers the permissible exposure limit (PEL) from the current standard of 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an eight-hour day, and an action level of 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

In addition, the final rule requires contractors to follow several ancillary provisions, such as housekeeping and written exposure plans. Crystalline silica is present in many commonly used construction materials and products.

New York finalizes solid waste management revisions

New York has finalized revisions to the state’s solid waste management regulations, commonly referred to as Part 360. In the first major overhaul of the program in 20 years, these regulations set design standards and operational criteria for all solid waste management facilities and are effective Nov. 4, 2017.

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The Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC’s) comprehensive revisions include the addition of solid waste management facilities, activities and waste streams that are not currently addressed within existing Part 360 and relax or eliminate existing requirements that have proven to have little or no environmental benefit.

The Part 360 series rulemaking process formally began in February 2016. The final regulations combat the emerging threat posed by the illegal dumping of construction and demolition debris (C&D) and fill material. The regulations require enhanced tracking for C&D debris and fill material generated in New York City, as well as for certain fill material generated anywhere in the state. The regulations also limit the exempt disposal of C&D debris, and provide expanded allowance for the reuse of fill materials in environmentally protective situations.

The regulations strengthen oversight of previously unregulated mulch-processing facilities to address potential threats to water quality and the environment across the state.

The regulations also change how grants to municipalities are provided to ensure that timely funding is available for both priority infrastructure projects and operational assistance such as support for recycling coordinators.

Illinois passes bill exempting C&D debris from franchise waste agreements

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill (SB) 1807 Aug. 24. The bill exempts construction and demolition (C&D) debris from waste franchises in the state.

According to the Construction & Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA), Milwaukee, nine municipalities continue to have monopoly franchises with C&D grandfathered in, but this bill prevents others from including C&D materials.

While the bill faced opposition from some landfill and hauling companies, it passed in both chambers.

“This bill took our state chapter three years to get passed, but was worth the effort because it will help ensure an open marketplace for the flow of C&D materials to C&D recyclers in our state,” Ken Hoving of Chicago-based Lakeshore Recycling Systems, CDRA board member and chair its legislative committee, says. “Our efforts can also provide a blueprint for recyclers in other states to use to overcome the monopoly practices that block C&D recyclers access to recyclable debris that otherwise could go to the landfill.”

An excerpt from the bill reads, “A municipality with a population of less than 1 million shall not enter into any new contracts with any other unit of local government, by intergovernmental agreement or otherwise, or with any corporation or person relating to the collecting and final disposition of general construction or demolition debris; except that this sentence does not apply to a municipality with a population of less than 1 million that is a party to: (1) a contract relating to the collecting and final disposition of general construction or demolition debris on the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 100th General Assembly; or (2) the renewal or extension of a contract relating to the collecting and final disposition of general construction or demolition debris irrespective of whether the contract automatically renews, is amended or is subject to a new request for proposal after the effective date of this amendatory (act).”