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Local Solid Waste Management Planning (LSWMP)

In New York State, a solid waste planning unit may undertake and complete a timely process leading to a local solid waste management plan (Local SWM Plan) for such unit for at least a ten-year period. Up-to-date solid waste management planning at the local level is a necessary and essential element in maintaining an environmentally-sound integrated solid waste management program in New York State.

History of Local SWM Planning

The Solid Waste Management Act of 1988 (Chapter 70, Laws of 1988) authorized a one-time $7.5 million grant program to assist planning units in developing local solid waste management plans. During 1990-1999, the development of this statewide network of local SWM plans helped New York State move from an "out-of-sight, out-of-mind" approach to a planned system of integrated solid waste management that considers waste as a resource with value to be recovered.

Local SWM Plan Contents

Local SWM Plans must contain a viable solution to the planning unit's solid waste management needs.

A Local SWM Plan must:

  1. take into account the objectives of the State's solid waste management policy;
  2. provide for, or take into account, management of all solid waste within the planning unit; and
  3. embody sound principles of solid waste management, natural resources conservation, energy production, and employment creating opportunities.

The plan must provide clear, specific guidance, including selection of appropriate solid waste management technologies and timetables to provide a smooth transition which does not interrupt the environmentally sound management of solid waste generated in the planning unit.

At a minimum, the local solid waste management plan shall:

  1. characterize the planning unit;
  2. characterize the solid waste stream to be managed;
  3. assess existing and alternate solid waste management programs and facilities;
  4. address comments and views expressed by concerned governmental, environmental, commercial and industrial interests and the public on the waste reduction, recycling, reuse and disposal alternatives;
  5. provide a Comprehensive Recycling Analysis;
  6. describe the management plan and systems to be implemented for each of the various waste streams;
  7. identify the parties with responsibility to implement each element of the plan and the steps which must be undertaken by each;
  8. set forth a timetable for implementing the plan;
  9. describe the participation in the preparation of the plan of each municipality which has chosen to participate in such preparation; and
  10. describe:
    1. measures to secure participation of neighboring jurisdictions,
    2. limitations imposed by the proposed plan on the solid waste management programs of such neighboring jurisdictions, and
    3. additional alternatives which would be available if a LSWMP including such jurisdictions were prepared.

These requirements are described in greater detail further in 6 NYCRR Subpart 360-15 regulations.

Planning Units in NYS

A Solid Waste Planning Unit is defined in ECL 27-0107(a) to mean:

  1. A county,
  2. Two or more counties acting jointly,
  3. A local government agency or authority established by state law for the purposes of managing solid waste,
  4. Any city located in the county of Nassau, or
  5. Two or more other municipalities which the department determines to be capable of implementing a regional solid waste management program.

There are 65 planning units in New York State that DEC has identified as being capable of developing and implementing a Local SWM Plan.

Current Status

Most Local SWM Plans were developed and approved during 1990-1999. As of October 1, 2008, there are 7 Planning Units who have expired LSWMPs. Another 34 LSWMPs will expire during 2009 and 2010. Four Planning Units have not yet completed an initial LSWMP. The remaining 19 LSWMPs expire after 2010.

DEC encourages all Planning Units with expired or expiring Local SWM Plans to initiate efforts to develop successor Plans.

Modifications to Local SWM Plans

A Planning Unit must undertake a plan MODIFICATION if there is:

  1. a significant change in the method of managing SW in the PU;
  2. a significant change in the management or administration of the PU; or
  3. a change of more than one year to the implementation schedule.

A plan modification must contain the following components:

  1. description, acceptable to DEC, of the modification proposed;
  2. reasons for the proposed modification;
  3. revised implementation schedule;
  4. State Environmental Quality Review determination, if any;
  5. accounting of public comments;
  6. description of how the planning unit will ensure that the modification, upon DEC approval, will be made to all official copies of existing DEC-approved plan;
  7. a resolution by the planning unit adopting the modification; and
  8. additional items deemed necessary by DEC for an integrated SWM plan that takes into account the objectives of state SWM policy.

Modifications to approved plans must be submitted to DEC for approval. However, no modification will be approved if that modification has the effect of decreasing the size of the planning unit unless each municipality withdrawing from the PU joins with or forms a second planning unit and the DEC determines in writing that each planning unit is capable of implementing a regional solid waste management program.

Biennial Compliance Reporting

Every two years, all planning units with an approved Local SWM Plan must submit a compliance report to the DEC. These reports provide planning units with an opportunity to review the progress made toward implementing their Local SWM Plan and to revise their goals to meet their current solid waste management needs.

State Solid Waste Management Policy

All Local SWM Plans are guided by the State SWM Policy. In the Solid Waste Management Act of 1988, the Legislature established a State Solid Waste Management Policy. The following are the solid waste management priorities in New York State:

  1. first, to reduce the amount of solid waste generated;
  2. second, to reuse material for the purpose for which it was originally intended or to recycle material that cannot be reused
  3. third, to recover, in an environmentally acceptable manner, energy from solid waste that can not be economically and technically reused or recycled; and
  4. fourth, to dispose of solid waste that is not being reused, recycled or from which energy is not being recovered, by land burial or other methods approved by the department. (from New York State Environmental Conservation Law 27-0106.1)

Objectives for the Future

Planning units need to continually reassess their planning strategies, policies and programs if they are to continue to safeguard the environment. For planning units with expiring plans, next generation Local SWM Planning should begin in earnest. DEC will continue to support these efforts.


More about Local Solid Waste Management Planning (LSWMP):