Proposed changes might bring changes to ag waste definition in Colorado | TheFencePost.com

Proposed changes might bring changes to ag waste definition in Colorado

The Colorado Department of Health and Environment has proposed definition changes regarding waste that concern the agriculture community.

The proposed definition changes were sent out in an email at the end of March. There are five main areas the definitions aim to update or expand. There are two main areas of worry, according to Katharine Lotspeich, regulatory consultant for AGPROfessionals. She said the changes "came out of the blue," and there is a lot of concern for the unintended consequences, particularly when it comes to ag waste with the definitions, as currently proposed.

If the definition is approved, as written, ag waste will mean "all discarded plant or animal materials that directly result from the raising of the crops or livestock. Agriculture waste also includes manure, irrigation water and irrigation run-off and return flows."

Agriculture waste is supposed to be an exception to solid waste regulations, and Kelly MacGregor, spokesperson for the hazardous materials division of the CDPHE, said the definition change is supposed to expand what can be deemed "ag waste" to broaden the definition to guarantee those exemptions.

Part of the definition, as proposed, would take the agriculture waste label off if "mixed with one or more solid wastes, managed, treated or disposed at a solid waste disposal site and facility" or "disposed of in or on the land and not as a fertilizer, soil conditioner or compost."

The new definition would make irrigated water an agriculture waste with the potential to become a solid waste.

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"It's not a waste, it's a resource," Lotspeich said.

Lotspeich said AGPROfessionals and their clients are worried about irrigated water being classified under agriculture and agriculture waste isn't the only proposed definition change that would tie water into the solid waste unit's regulations, either.

MacGregor said the changes to agriculture waste and environmental media were made to broaden and clarify definitions. But, as in agriculture waste's proposed definition change, environmental media's definition will bring in water.

The proposed addition to environmental media's definition will include "surface water and ground water."

And, after water was added, the proposed change includes environmental media becoming a solid waste if "mixed with one or more solid wastes," or is "managed, treated or disposed at a solid waste disposal site and facility."

There will be a stakeholder committee meeting May 3 to discuss these proposed definition changes.

The stakeholder meeting was by request, Lotspeich said. "We want the time to get it right, to make sure those who will be affected to voice their opinions," she said.

MacGregor said the department has received quite a bit of feedback about the proposed changes, particularly when it comes to agriculture waste and environmental media.

She said there likely will be changes to the definitions based on some of the feedback, but the specifics won't be known until after the stakeholder meeting.

The vote on the changes will be held on May 15. ❖

— Fox is a reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at (970) 392-4410, sfox@thefencepost.com or on Twitter @FoxonaFarm.

Stakeholder meeting

When: 10:30 a.m. May 3

Where Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South, Denver. Building C, room C1A.

Rulemaking hearing

When: 9 a.m. May 15

Where Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South, Denver. Sabin-Cleere Conference Room