MassDEP Issues Final Rules for Anaerobic Digestion Facilities: Let's Hope They Work


This week, MassDEP announced that it had finalized regulatory revisions intended to encourage anaerobic digestion projects in the Commonwealth. The regulations are the culmination of a long stakeholder process . Since our firm knows from personal experience MassDEP’s ability to tie itself in knots on this issue, there is little doubt that this package was necessary as a practical matter.

Highlights of the regulations include:

  • An exemption from the site assignment process for anaerobic (and aerobic) digestion operations
  • Site-specific permits for facilities receiving more than 100 tpd
  • Revisions to wastewater regulations allowing digesters at publicly owned treatment works to receive organic waste from off-site.

MassDEP is clearly hoping that this process will not become the NIMBY nightmare that onshore wind seems headed towards in Massachusetts. Those of us of a certain age will also recall state efforts to overcome local opposition to the siting of hazardous waste facilities. Of course, as MassDEP has acknowledged, it cannot by regulation overcome local zoning; it can only do what it has done – eliminate the site assignment requirement. It has pledged to work with communities and provide information to educate residents.

For the moment, I will let my naturally optimistic self have free rein. If it’s 2014 and the MassDEP has banned landfill disposal of organic waste, but no anaerobic digesters have been built, I reserve the right to say I knew it all the time.


Written by:


Foley Hoag LLP - Environmental Law on:

Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.