Waste-derived fertilizers

Establishes standards for waste-derived commercial fertilizers.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.941        
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that there are no national
 2 risk-based standards with regard to the manufacture,
 3 distribution, and use of commercial fertilizers in the United
 4 States though other industrialized nations have already adopted
 5 such standards.  The legislature further finds that while laws or
 6 rules concerning the manufacture, distribution, and use of
 7 commercial fertilizers in most states, including Hawaii, are far
 8 from stringent, manufacturing industries throughout the country
 9 engage in the practice of disposing hazardous wastes, including
10 such toxic substances as lead, cadmium, arsenic, radionuclides,
11 and dioxins, by recycling such waste products into commercial
12 fertilizers.  These industries have disposed tons of hazardous
13 waste by giving it free to commercial fertilizer manufacturers or
14 even paying these manufacturers to take it.  This lack of
15 regulation and standards to prohibit excess levels of toxic
16 substances in waste by-products from being used in commercial
17 fertilizers has made it virtually impossible to accurately
18 measure the volume of those fertilizers produced by the recycling
19 of the hazardous wastes.

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                                     H.B. NO.941        

 1      To date, there has been little substantive research done in
 2 the United States on this subject.  In fact, there is no
 3 conclusive data that specifically proves either the danger or the
 4 safety of this practice.  However, the legislature finds that
 5 there is ample evidence from throughout the United States where
 6 the recycling of hazardous wastes into commercial fertilizer has
 7 proven detrimental to agricultural practices, resulting in the
 8 introduction of heavy metals and radioactive material to both
 9 food crops and livestock, which in turn are then marketed for
10 human consumption.  For example, a uranium-processing plant in
11 Gore, Oklahoma, disposed of low-level radioactive waste by simply
12 calling it a fertilizer, whereupon it was then sprayed on nine
13 thousand acres of grazing land.  In Tifton County, Georgia, over
14 one thousand acres of peanut crops were destroyed through the use
15 of a limestone-based fertilizer that also contained undisclosed,
16 but not insignificant, amounts of lead, cadmium, and chromium.
17 The Monsanto Company, on its own initiative, has discontinued its
18 practice of recycling and marketing its hazardous wastes as
19 fertilizer, citing concerns about public health and its own
20 liability.
21      Due to Hawaii's dependence upon agriculture as a significant
22 economic resource and in the interest of protecting the public
23 health of its citizens and its fragile environment, the

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                                     H.B. NO.941        

 1 legislature finds that it is necessary to enact laws regarding
 2 the manufacture, distribution, and use of waste-derived
 3 commercial fertilizers.  In doing so, the legislature has looked
 4 to the state of Washington, where government, agricultural
 5 concerns, and commercial fertilizer manufacturers and
 6 distributors came together in an effort to find solutions to
 7 dealing with this environmental and health concern, and to
 8 Canada, which through its Canadian Fertilizers Act set standards
 9 regarding acceptable levels for nonnutritive metals in both
10 products and soils.
11      The purpose of this Act is to provide standards for waste-
12 derived commercial fertilizers by:
13      (1)  Authorizing the department of health to establish
14           standards for commercial fertilizers that are wholly or
15           partly derived from hazardous waste;
16      (2)  Authorizing the department of health to require the
17           proper disclosure to consumers and the general public
18           of the use of nonnutritive metals on other hazardous
19           waste in the manufacture of commercial fertilizers; and
20      (3)  Requiring the department of health to establish
21           standards for allowable levels of nonnutritive metals
22           in commercial fertilizers.

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                                     H.B. NO.941        

 1      SECTION 2.  Chapter 342J, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
 2 amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated
 3 and to read as follows:
 4      "342J-    Waste-derived commercial fertilizers; standards.
 5 (a)  The director may establish by rule, pursuant to chapter 91,
 6 standards applicable to persons who generate, transport, treat,
 7 store, dispose of, process, re-refine, burn (including burning
 8 for purposes of energy recovery), recycle, distribute, market, or
 9 otherwise handle any commercial fertilizer:
10      (1)  Derived from any hazardous waste;
11      (2)  Derived from any hazardous waste and any other
12           material; or
13      (3)  That contains any hazardous waste.
14      (b)  The director may adopt rules, pursuant to chapter 91,
15 for carrying out the purpose and provisions of this section
16 including but not limited to rules for:
17      (1)  The definition of terms;
18      (2)  Determining standards for the labeling and registration
19           of commercial fertilizers;
20      (3)  The collection and examination of commercial
21           fertilizers; and
22      (4)  Regulating the use and disposal of commercial
23           fertilizers.

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                                     H.B. NO.941        

 1      (c)  The director shall establish by rule, pursuant to
 2 chapter 91, standards for allowable levels of nonnutritive metals
 3 in commercial fertilizers, using the figures specified in the
 4 Canadian Fertilizers Act, as amended, and in any rules
 5 subsequently adopted under that Act for the maximum acceptable
 6 metal concentrations in products and the maximum acceptable
 7 cumulative metal additions to soil until such time that federal
 8 risk-based standards are adopted or studies have proven
 9 conclusively that the Canadian standards are not adequate to
10 protect human health and the environment."
11      SECTION 3.  New statutory material is underscored.
12      SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
14                           INTRODUCED BY:  _______________________