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§22-15-1. Purpose and legislative findings.

(a) The purpose of this article is to establish a comprehensive program of controlling all phases of solid waste management.

(b) The Legislature finds that solid waste disposal is a universal problem for all of the United States and that West Virginia is committed to participating in the waste stream market and not interfering with the free flow of solid waste into or out of this state. However, the Legislature also recognizes that solid waste disposal has inherent long-term environmental, health and infrastructure impacts on local communities where the solid waste facilities are located. It is the Legislature's intent to establish reasonable uniform requirements on all waste disposed of in this state regardless of origin. Because of the importance and impact associated with the location and operation of solid waste facilities, this article establishes a thorough and balanced application and regulatory process which provides an efficient and reasonable permitting process while affording the state and its citizens full and fair participation in decisions associated with the location, operation and oversight of the solid waste collection and disposal process.

(c) The Legislature further finds that solid waste disposal has inherent risks and negative impact on local communities and specifically finds the following: (1) Uncontrolled, inadequately controlled and improper collection, transportation, processing and disposal of solid waste is a public nuisance and a clear and present danger to people; (2) provides harborages and breeding places for disease-carrying, injurious insects, rodents and other pests harmful to the public health, safety and welfare; (3) constitutes a danger to livestock and domestic animals; (4) decreases the value of private and public property, causes pollution, blight and deterioration of the natural beauty and resources of the state and has adverse economic and social effects on the state and its citizens; (5) results in the squandering of valuable nonrenewable and nonreplenishable resources contained in solid waste; (6) that resource recovery and recycling reduces the need for landfills and extends their life; and that (7) proper disposal, resource recovery or recycling of solid waste is for the general welfare of the citizens of this state.

(d) The Legislature further finds that Class A landfills often create special environmental problems that require statewide coordination of the management of such landfills.

(e) The Legislature further finds based upon engineering, environmental concerns, land-use planning, transportation system networks, public health, safety and welfare, that the amount of solid waste disposed of by solid waste facilities must be limited in order to protect this state's environment and the public in general against adverse impact.

(f) The Legislature further finds that incineration technologies present potentially significant health and environmental problems.

(g) The Legislature further finds that there is a need for efforts to continue to evaluate the viability of future incineration technologies that are both environmentally sound and economically feasible.

(h) The Legislature further finds that composting large quantities of sewage sludge at a single location can seriously impact the local community where the facility is located. The potential adverse impact of noxious odors and environmental and health hazards requires assurances that local communities are not adversely impacted by the location of sewage sludge composting facilities. Further, the newness of the technology and processes for managing sewage sludge processing require careful and evolving regulatory oversight mechanisms, assuring that sewage sludge processing and composting are properly conducted. Therefore, limitations and qualifications for location and management of sewage sludge processing facilities are a necessary and integral part of the management of solid waste in West Virginia.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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