Rules to govern the planning and construction of non-hazardous waste incinerators will be going out for public comment and hearings within the next few weeks.

The Utah Solid and Hazardous Waste Committee reviewed the rules at its Friday meeting and voted to expedite hearings with a goal of having the public comment process completed within the next three to four months.The new rules are essentially a reworking of the old ones with an added section on non-hazardous waste incinerators, an area not covered previously. Dennis Downs, assistant director of the Bureau of Solid and Hazardous Waste, said several such incinerators have been proposed for Utah and at present, the only permit required is for air quality standards.

He said with the emphasis shifting away from landfills to incinerators and other alternative waste disposal systems, it is important that the committee adopt permit rules to ensure state and federal environmental regulations are met.

Also, many of the applicants for the incinerators have indicated they may seek permits in the future to convert their operations for handling of hazardous waste materials. Downs said this potential makes it imperative that the committee review plans to ensure that future conversion is both practical and feasible.

The non-hazardous waste incinerators are expected to handle medical waste, solid waste and non-hazardous industrial wastes initially.

Downs noted that the rules will have future application to some 200 municipal and 50 private waste disposal sites in the state. He said it is important that these groups be involved in commenting on the proposed rules before they are adopted.

The committee directed staff to open a 60-day public comment period preceding hearings and to hold a minimum of seven public hearings around the state. These are to be coordinated with the seven area councils of governments that involve all 29 counties. Other hearings could be added if the need surfaces.

The rules will apply to all new facilities and any expansion of existing facilities involved with solid waste whether they are landfills or incinerators.