General Provisions

Part 503 establishes the general requirements, pollutant limits, operational standards, and management practices as well as frequency of monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements that have to be met when biosol-ids are applied to the land, placed on a surface disposal site, placed on a municipal solids waste landfill unit, or fired in a sewage sludge incinerator. In addition to establishing requirements for the quality of biosolids that are used or disposed and for sites on which biosolids are used or disposed, Part 503 indicates who has to ensure that the requirements are met. These requirements include:

• The person who prepares the biosolids

• The person who applies the biosolids

• The owner or operator of a surface disposal site

• The person who fires sludge in a sludge incinerator

• Class I sludge management facilities (wastewater treatment plants that are required to have an approved pretreatment program)

• Publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) with a flow rate equal to or greater than 3800 m3/day (1 mgd)

• POTWs that serve a population of 10,000 people or more

The following activities and types of sludge and other wastewater solids are not subject to Part 503 regulation:

• Requirements for processes used to treat wastewater or for processes used to treat wastewater sludge prior to final use or disposal, with the exceptions that pertain to the processes used to reduce pathogens and vector attraction reduction.

• The selection of a use or particular disposal practice of biosolids. Determination of the manner in which the biosolids are used or disposed of are the responsibility of the local authority.

• Co-firing of sewage sludge in an incinerator with other wastes or for the incinerator in which sewage sludge and other wastes are co-fired. If the auxiliary fuel is municipal solid waste, it cannot exceed 30% of the dry weight of the sewage sludge and auxiliary fuel combined. The requirements of 40 CFR Parts 60 and 61 have to be met in cases where total mass fired contains more than 30% municipal solid waste.

• Sludge generated during treatment of industrial process wastewater at an industrial facility, including sewage sludge generated at an industrial facility during the treatment of industrial wastewater combined with domestic sewage. If the sludge is applied to or placed on land, requirements in 40 CFR Part 257 have to be met. If the sludge is placed in a municipal solid waste landfill facility, the requirements of 40 CFR Part 258 apply.

• Hazardous sludge, including hazardous sewage sludge, which are subject to the requirements in 40 CFR Parts 261 to 268 when they are used or disposed of.

• Incinerator ash.

• Grit and screenings generated during the treatment of domestic sewage. If used or disposed of, requirements of 40 CFR Part 257 apply.

• Drinking water treatment sludge. Requirements of 40 CFR Part 257 apply if used or disposed of.

• Commercial septage, industrial septage, a mixture of domestic septage and commercial septage, or a mixture of domestic septage and industrial septage. Part 503 applies if the device in which the septage is generated, such as a septic tank, receives only domestic sewage.

When the EPA designed Part 503, the regulation was written to be self-implementary. This means that even without the terms and conditions of a biosolids permit, regulated users and disposers of biosolids are required to meet the requirements of the regulation. Part 503 is a national standard. When writing a permit, the permitting authority can impose stringent or additional requirements as long as the authority can show that they are necessary to protect the public health and the environment from any adverse effect of a pollutant in the biosolids. The permitting authority can use best professional judgment to develop more stringent conditions or to add limits for pollutants that are not regulated by Part 503.

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