Waste Volume in Virginia Declines Again in 2009, Mirrors National Trend

Date: July 7, 2010

Source: Waste Business Journal and Virginia DEQ

The state of Virginia reports the overall volume of waste entering its landfills declined by 11% in 2009 from a year earlier. More significant was a 19% drop in wastes coming from other states, especially Maryland, its biggest customer, which sent 22% less waste last year. Among the different types of waste disposed, municipal solid waste (MSW), which comprises 68% of all waste disposed in the state, declined by 11% last year, followed by construction and demolition (C&D) wastes, that are 16.3% of the stream, which also declined by 11%. According to Waste Business Journal statistics, the trend nationwide is somewhat similar, except for C&D wastes which declined by nearly 20% across the US last year. Wastes from US businesses declined by 15% and nationwide residential waste declined a more modest 3% for a net decline of 7% in US landfilled waste in 2009.


Solid Waste Managed in Virginia During Calendar Year 2009


Section 10.1-1413.1 of the Code of Virginia requires the Department of Environmental Quality (Department or DEQ) to prepare a report by June 30 of each year describing the amount of solid waste disposed of in the Commonwealth during the preceding calendar year. Facilities that have solid waste management permits are required to provide the Department with information to prepare this report. As of June 17, 2010, 200 permitted facilities and one facility with an emergency permit (EMG) provided information on their activities for calendar year 2009 for this report. Based on the facilities' reports (excluding the EMG), a total of 19,559,757.69 tons of solid waste was received at Virginia's permitted solid waste management facilities during calendar year 2009. Of this total, 14,209,245.40 tons originated in the Commonwealth and 5,350,512.29 tons originated from other jurisdictions.

Municipal solid waste (MSW) constituted 13,221,291.72 tons of the total amount of solid waste received during calendar year 2009. Of the total MSW received, 8,938,887.56 tons originated in the Commonwealth and 4,282,404.16 tons originated from other jurisdictions. Five jurisdictions accounted for 97.50% of all waste received from out-of-state sources: Maryland (40.42%); New York (24.74%); Washington, D.C. (19.99%); New Jersey (6.75%); and North Carolina (5.59%).

During calendar year 2009, the total solid waste, MSW, and Construction/Demolition/Debris (CDD) waste received from out-of-state decreased by 19.06%, 15.87%, and 20.30% respectively, compared to 2008 amounts. Waste originating in Virginia during the same period, the total solid waste, MSW, and CDD received decreased by 7.75%, 9.43% and 8.88% respectively, compared to 2008 amounts.

Of the solid waste managed in Virginia during the year (excluding the one EMG report), 77.79% or 12,471,463.99 tons was landfilled on-site, 12.96% or 2,077,331.69 tons was incinerated on-site, and the rest was managed by other means (see Table 3). Of all solid waste received at Virginia facilities during the year, 67.59% was MSW, 16.26% was CDD waste, and the remainder was other types of waste.

Permitted solid waste management facilities reported that 6.59% of the waste they managed was diverted from disposal by recycling or mulching. Most recycling occurs at facilities other than permitted waste management facilities. Local governments provide more complete information on the recycling of waste generated in Virginia. Based on the local government recycling reports, the statewide average recycling rate for calendar year 2008 was 38.5%, the same percentage reported in 2007. See the CY 2008 Virginia Annual Recycling Rate Report for greater detail at www.deq.virginia.gov/recycle/recycle.html. A report on the statewide recycling rate for calendar year 2009 will be issued later this year.

Permitted facilities were required to report on their available capacity and the expected life of the facilities based on current disposal rates. This information shows that at current rates, the remaining available landfill capacity is as follows: MSW - 21.3 years; CDD - 19.4 years; and non-captive industrial - 56.1 years. These projections do not account for population increases, changes in waste generation or disposal rates, or the closing of older MSW disposal units pursuant to statute.

At the option of the facility owner, Va. Code§10.1-1413.1 provides that the data collected may include an accounting of the facility's economic benefits to the locality where the facility is located. Ten facilities provided such information for calendar year 2009.

The Department received one report from an EMG issued in 2009 to the Town of Elkton to handle woody debris.

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