OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5385



This bill adds waste conversion facilities to the existing definition of volume reduction plants, which are places or facilities used to reduce solid waste at a rate of at least 2,000 pounds per hour. By law, a volume reduction plant is one type of solid waste facility, which must be permitted by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

Under the bill, a “waste conversion facility” converts solid waste into electricity, fuel, gas, chemicals, or other products through thermal, chemical, or biological processes, but it is not a resources recovery facility. Corresponding to the new definition, the bill limits resources recovery facilities (which are also a type of volume reduction plant) to combusting mixed municipal solid waste (MSW) to generate electricity, rather than using any process to reclaim energy from MSW.

The bill also reduces the amount of information a resources recovery facility or MSW composting facility (i.e., a facility that recovers organic material) applying for a DEEP permit must provide as part of the DEEP commissioner's review of whether there is a need for the facility. This process is commonly referred to as a “determination of need.” By limiting the definition of resources recovery facility, the bill excludes waste conversion facilities from this need determination.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016


Existing law prohibits the DEEP commissioner from issuing a permit to construct or expand certain waste facilities or disposal areas unless he determines that they are needed to meet the state's solid waste disposal needs and will not result in substantial excess capacity. The bill specifies that the capacity targets are as provided in the state's solid waste management plan (see BACKGROUND).

The bill eliminates three pieces of information a resources recovery facility or mixed MSW composting facility must provide as part of the need determination process:

1. the estimated amount of mixed MSW (a) generated by and received from each municipality and other customers that will send waste to the facility and (b) that are designated recyclables for recycling;

2. the estimated change in the amount of mixed MSW generated due to population growth, waste reduction, source reduction, and industrial and commercial development over the facility's design life; and

3. a demonstration that the facility's throughput capacity (i.e., how much it can process), combined with the capacity of other permitted facilities, will not exceed the total capacity needed to process the state's waste.

Existing law, unchanged by the bill, requires the facilities to provide information about design capacity, planned operating rate and throughput, technical feasibility, capability to complete the project, reserve capacity, and contingencies for facility use.


Municipal Solid Waste

By law, MSW is solid waste from residential, commercial, and industrial sources, but not waste that has significant amounts of hazardous or biomedical waste, land-clearing or demolition debris, sewage sludge, and scrap metal (CGS 22a-207(23)).

Solid Waste Management Plan

The DEEP commissioner is currently revising the state's solid waste management plan to include a strategy for diverting, through source reduction, reuse, and recycling, at least 60% of solid waste generated in Connecticut by January 1, 2024. The law requires the revision to be completed by July 1, 2016 (CGS 22a-241a).


Environment Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute