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Instructions: Permit Application for Composting Facilities and Anaerobic Digesters

Application process

The following documentation must be submitted in writing in order for DEQ to conduct a risk screening and for the permit application to be complete. A complete application should include the following items.

Composting facility/anaerobic digester application items

The following items are requested to be submitted as part of the solid waste permit application form.

Environmental Risk Screening information

The following facility operational and physical information is necessary in order for DEQ to conduct an environmental risk screening. DEQ can help obtain some of the required information. If you have any questions, please contact a regional DEQ composting facility representative to discuss.

  • A description of the conversion technology facility operation including feedstock types, volumes and sources, feedstock receiving and storage practices, methods of feedstock screening and preparation to eliminate incompatible contamination materials, staff training, facility processing methods, uses of finished products and disposition of waste materials

  • A description of all existing or planned structures and features for managing leachate and stormwater, including but not limited to information about any detention or infiltration basins, and any infiltration structures such as filter strips and bioswales

  • A description of odor control measures, if necessary, including site design features and operational practices

  • A description of the methods the facility will use to achieve vector control

  • Any seasonal variations in the facility’s operation

  • Contact information including the facility operator, facility owner and property owner

  • Operational and compliance history of the facility, if any​

  • Location and site schematic, including areas for management of leachate and stormwater, of the existing or proposed facility by latitude and longitude, identified on a map

  • Location of the facility on a tax lot map

  • Location of and distance to surface water in the drainage area of the facility, and all drainage channels, ditches and any other water conveyances leading from the facility to surface water, identified on a map

  • Locations of all commercial and residential structures within a one-mile radius of the composting facility, identified on a map or photograph (aerial photograph)

  • A description of any leachate and stormwater produced at the facility, including information about the chemical composition of leachate

  • Facility plans identifying biogas/syngas collection and storage facilities

Note: The following information is necessary only if soil will be used to infiltrate water from the facility. DEQ will collect the following information if you have difficulty obtaining it.

  • Distance to the uppermost groundwater aquifer and other known aquifers at the location of the composting facility and in any areas proposed for infiltration of leachate or stormwater from the facility

  • Soil type or types, and permeability if known or available, at the location of the facility and in any areas proposed for infiltration of leachate or stormwater

  • Location and well logs of all wells on the property where the facility is located; location and well logs of any wells within ¼ mile of the facility; and, if known, location of any proposed wells within ¼ mile of the facility​

Obtaining a composting facility permit

According to DEQ rules, a composting facility is considered a solid waste disposal site. Composting facilities that need a permit must submit an application for a solid waste disposal site; applicants should check the “Composting Facility” box. DEQ will process the “complete” application, conduct a site and facility environmental risk screening to determine the type of permit required, conduct a public comment period on the drafted permit and issue the permit, barring a complicating issue. The table below outlines the permitting process and includes links to necessary application materials. 

Step 1 - Application

Operator of proposed composting facility gathers information and submits “complete” application to DEQ.

Step 2 - Completeness review

Application received and reviewed for completeness; DEQ permit writers work with applicant to obtain complete application

Step 3 - Environmental risk screening

DEQ permit writer conducts environmental risk screening, makes a risk determination based on potential risk the site poses to pollute ground and surface water, soil or create nuisance odors that will negatively affect neighbors. DEQ contacts the applicant informing of the determination and sends an evaluation letter. If the site poses a risk, an individual permit and Site Operations Plan is required. If DEQ staff determine the site poses a low-risk, then a Registration permit will be required.

Step 4 - Draft permit and public notice

DEQ permit writer drafts permit, permit evaluation report, public notice document, cover letter and puts draft out for public notice/comment period.

  • For Registration permit – 30-day comment period
  • For Individual composting facility permit – 35-day comment period

Step 5 - Comment period ends

DEQ permit writer responds to comments, alters permit as necessary and issues the permit. Note: An Individual composting facility permit may require a public hearing if at least 10 people or someone representing 10 people request one. A public hearing usually prolongs the permit issuance timeframe.

Step 6 - Length of time to issue a composting facility permit

Once DEQ receives a complete application (all required application materials) it takes roughly four to six months to issue a composting facility permit. Complex permits may take longer to issue.

Other regulations

Composting facilities and compost products may also be subject to other regulations. These regulations include:


Bob Barrows
Composting Program Lead