Nebraska Revised Statute 81-1505
Council; rules and regulations; standards of air, land, and water quality.
(1) In order to carry out the purposes of the Environmental Protection Act, the Integrated Solid Waste Management Act, and the Livestock Waste Management Act, the council shall adopt and promulgate rules and regulations which shall set standards of air, water, and land quality to be applicable to the air, waters, and land of this state or portions thereof. Such standards of quality shall be such as to protect the public health and welfare. The council shall classify air, water, and land contaminant sources according to levels and types of discharges, emissions, and other characteristics which relate to air, water, and land pollution and may require reporting for any such class or classes. Such classifications and standards made pursuant to this section may be made for application to the state as a whole or to any designated area of the state and shall be made with special reference to effects on health, economic and social factors, and physical effects on property. Such standards and classifications may be amended as determined necessary by the council.
(2) In adopting the classifications of waters and water quality standards, the primary purpose for such classifications and standards shall be to protect the public health and welfare and the council shall give consideration to:
(a) The size, depth, surface area, or underground area covered, the volume, direction, and rate of flow, stream gradient, and temperature of the water;
(b) The character of the area affected by such classification or standards, its peculiar suitability for particular purposes, conserving the value of the area, and encouraging the most appropriate use of lands within such area for domestic, agricultural, industrial, recreational, and aquatic life purposes;
(c) The uses which have been made, are being made, or are likely to be made, of such waters for agricultural, transportation, domestic, and industrial consumption, for fishing and aquatic culture, for the disposal of sewage, industrial waste, and other wastes, or other uses within this state and, at the discretion of the council, any such uses in another state on interstate waters flowing through or originating in this state;
(d) The extent of present pollution or contamination of such waters which has already occurred or resulted from past discharges therein; and
(e) Procedures pursuant to section 401 of the Clean Water Act, as amended, 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq., for certification by the department of activities requiring a federal license or permit which may result in a discharge.
(3) In adopting effluent limitations or prohibitions, the council shall give consideration to the type, class, or category of discharges and the quantities, rates, and concentrations of chemical, physical, biological, and other constituents which are discharged from point sources into navigable or other waters of the state, including schedules of compliance, best practicable control technology, and best available control technology.
(4) In adopting standards of performance, the council shall give consideration to the discharge of pollutants which reflect the greatest degree of effluent reduction which the council determines to be achievable through application of the best available demonstrated control technology, processes, operating methods, or other alternatives, including, when practicable, a standard permitting no discharge of pollutants.
(5) In adopting toxic pollutant standards and limitations, the council shall give consideration to the combinations of pollutants, the toxicity of the pollutant, its persistence, degradability, the usual or potential presence of the affected organisms in any waters, the importance of the affected organisms, and the nature and extent of the effect of the toxic pollutant on such organisms.
(6) In adopting pretreatment standards, the council shall give consideration to the prohibitions or limitations to noncompatible pollutants, prohibitions against the passage through a publicly owned treatment works of pollutants which would cause interference with or obstruction to the operation of publicly owned treatment works, damage to such works, and the prevention of the discharge of pollutants therefrom which are inadequately treated.
(7) In adopting treatment standards, the council shall give consideration to providing for processes to which wastewater shall be subjected in a publicly owned wastewater treatment works in order to make such wastewater suitable for subsequent use.
(8) In adopting regulations pertaining to the disposal of domestic and industrial liquid wastes, the council shall give consideration to the minimum amount of biochemical oxygen demand, suspended solids, or equivalent in the case of industrial wastewaters, which must be removed from the wastewaters and the degree of disinfection necessary to meet water quality standards with respect to construction, installation, change of, alterations in, or additions to any wastewater treatment works or disposal systems, including issuance of permits and proper abandonment, and requirements necessary for proper operation and maintenance thereof.
(9)(a) The council shall adopt and promulgate rules and regulations for controlling mineral exploration holes and mineral production and injection wells. The rules and regulations shall include standards for the construction, operation, and abandonment of such holes and wells. The standards shall protect the public health and welfare and air, land, water, and subsurface resources so as to control, minimize, and eliminate hazards to humans, animals, and the environment. Consideration shall be given to:
(i) Area conditions such as suitability of location, geologic formations, topography, industry, agriculture, population density, wildlife, fish and other aquatic life, sites of archaeological and historical importance, mineral, land, and water resources, and the existing economic activities of the area including, but not limited to, agriculture, recreation, tourism, and industry;
(ii) A site-specific evaluation of the geologic and hydrologic suitability of the site and the injection, disposal, and production zones;
(iii) The quality of the existing ground water, the effects of exemption of the aquifer from any existing water quality standards, and requirements for restoration of the aquifer;
(iv) Standards for design and use of production facilities, which shall include, but not be limited to, all wells, pumping equipment, surface structures, and associated land required for operation of injection or production wells; and
(v) Conditions required for closure, abandonment, or restoration of mineral exploration holes, injection and production wells, and production facilities in order to protect the public health and welfare and air, land, water, and subsurface resources.
(b) The council shall establish fees for regulated activities and facilities and for permits for such activities and facilities. The fees shall be sufficient but shall not exceed the amount necessary to pay the department for the direct and indirect costs of evaluating, processing, and monitoring during and after operation of regulated facilities or performance of regulated activities.
(c) With respect to mineral production wells, the council shall adopt and promulgate rules and regulations which require restoration of air, land, water, and subsurface resources and require mineral production well permit applications to include a restoration plan for the air, land, water, and subsurface resources affected. Such rules and regulations may provide for issuance of a research and development permit which authorizes construction and operation of a pilot plant by the permittee for the purpose of demonstrating the permittee's ability to inject and restore in a manner which meets the standards required by this subsection and the rules and regulations.
The rules and regulations adopted and promulgated may also provide for issuance of a commercial permit after a finding by the department that the injection and restoration procedures authorized by the research and development permit have been successful in demonstrating the applicant's ability to inject and restore in a manner which meets the standards required by this subsection and the rules and regulations.
(d) For the purpose of this subsection, unless the context otherwise requires, restoration shall mean the employment, during and after an activity, of procedures reasonably designed to control, minimize, and eliminate hazards to humans, animals, and the environment, to protect the public health and welfare and air, land, water, and subsurface resources, and to return each resource to a quality of use consistent with the uses for which the resource was suitable prior to the activity.
(10) In adopting livestock waste control regulations, the council shall consider the discharge of livestock wastes into the waters of the state or onto land not owned by the livestock operator, conditions under which permits for such operations may be issued, including design, location, and proper management of such facilities, protection of ground water from such operations, and revocation, modification, or suspension of such permits for cause and all requirements of the Livestock Waste Management Act.
(11) In adopting regulations for the issuance of permits under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System created by the Clean Water Act, as amended, 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq., the council shall consider when such permits shall be required and exemptions, application and filing requirements, terms and conditions affecting such permits, notice and public participation, duration and review of such permits, the evaluation provided for under section 81-1517, and monitoring, recording, and reporting under the system.
(12) The council shall adopt and promulgate rules and regulations for air pollution control which shall include:
(a) A construction permit program which requires the owner or operator of an air contaminant source to obtain a permit prior to construction. Application fees shall be according to section 81-1505.06;
(b) An operating permit program consistent with requirements of the Clean Air Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq., and an operating permit program for minor sources of air pollution, which programs shall require permits for both new and existing sources;
(c) Provisions for operating permits to be issued after public notice, to be terminated, modified, or revoked for cause, and to be modified to incorporate new requirements;
(d) Provisions for applications to be on forms provided by the department and to contain information necessary to make a determination on the appropriateness of issuance or denial. The department shall make a completeness determination in a timely fashion and after such determination shall act on the application within time limits set by the council. Applications for operating permits shall include provisions for certification of compliance by the applicant;
(e) Requirements for operating permits which may include such conditions as necessary to protect public health and welfare, including, but not limited to (i) monitoring and reporting requirements on all sources subject to the permit, (ii) payment of annual fees sufficient to pay the reasonable direct and indirect costs of developing and administering the air quality permit program, (iii) retention of records, (iv) compliance with all air quality standards, (v) a permit term of no more than five years from date of issuance, (vi) any applicable schedule of compliance leading to compliance with air quality regulations, (vii) site access to the department for inspection of the facility and records, (viii) emission limits or control technology requirements, (ix) periodic compliance certification, and (x) other conditions necessary to carry out the purposes of the Environmental Protection Act. For purposes of this subsection, control technology shall mean a design, equipment, a work practice, an operational standard which may include a requirement for operator training or certification, or any combination thereof;
(f) Classification of air quality control regions;
(g) Standards for air quality that may be established based upon protection of public health and welfare, emission limitations established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and maximum achievable control technology standards for sources of toxic air pollutants. For purposes of this subdivision, maximum achievable control technology standards shall mean an emission limit or control technology standard which requires the maximum degree of emission reduction that the council, taking into consideration the cost of achieving such emission reduction, any health and environmental impacts not related to air quality, and energy requirements, determines is achievable for new or existing sources in the category or subcategory to which the standard applies through application of measures, processes, methods, systems, or techniques, including, but not limited to, measures which accomplish one or a combination of the following:
(i) Reduce the volume of or eliminate emissions of the pollutants through process changes, substitution of materials, or other modifications;
(ii) Enclose systems or processes to eliminate emissions; or
(iii) Collect, capture, or treat the pollutants when released from a process, stack, storage, or fugitive emission point;
(h) Restrictions on open burning and fugitive emissions;
(i) Provisions for issuance of general operating permits, after public notice, for sources with similar operating conditions and for revoking such general authority to specific permittees;
(j) Provisions for implementation of any emissions trading programs as defined by the department. Such programs shall be consistent with the Clean Air Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq., and administered through the operating permit program;
(k) A provision that operating permits will not be issued if the Environmental Protection Agency objects in a timely manner;
(l) Provisions for periodic reporting of emissions;
(m) Limitations on emissions from process operations, fuel-burning equipment, and incinerator emissions and such other restrictions on emissions as are necessary to protect the public health and welfare;
(n) Time schedules for compliance;
(o) Requirements for owner or operator testing and monitoring of emissions;
(p) Control technology requirements when it is not feasible to prescribe or enforce an emission standard; and
(q) Procedures and definitions necessary to carry out payment of the annual emission fee set in section 81-1505.04.
(13)(a) In adopting regulations for hazardous waste management, the council shall give consideration to generation of hazardous wastes, labeling practices, containers used, treatment, storage, collection, transportation including a manifest system, processing, resource recovery, and disposal of hazardous wastes. It shall consider the permitting, licensing, design and construction, and development and operational plans for hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities, and conditions for licensing or permitting of hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal areas. It shall consider modification, suspension, or revocation of such licenses and permits, including requirements for waste analysis, site improvements, fire prevention, safety, security, restricted access, and covering and handling of hazardous liquids and materials. Licenses and permits for hazardous waste, treatment, storage, and disposal facilities shall not be issued until certification by the State Fire Marshal as to fire prevention and fire safety has been received by the department. The council shall further consider the need at treatment, storage, or disposal facilities for required equipment, communications and alarms, personnel training, and contingency plans for any emergencies that might arise and for a coordinator during such emergencies.
In addition the council shall give consideration to (i) ground water monitoring, (ii) use and management of containers and tanks, (iii) surface impoundments, (iv) waste piles, (v) land treatment, (vi) incinerators, (vii) chemical or biological treatment, (viii) landfills including the surveying thereof, and (ix) special requirements for ignitable, reactive, or incompatible wastes.
In considering closure and postclosure of hazardous waste treatment, storage, or disposal facilities, the council shall consider regulations that would result in the owner or operator closing his or her facility so as to minimize the need for future maintenance, and to control, minimize, or eliminate, to the extent necessary to protect humans, animals, and the environment, postclosure escape of hazardous waste, hazardous waste constituents, and leachate to the ground water or surface waters, and to control, minimize, or eliminate, to the extent necessary to protect humans, animals, and the environment, waste decomposition to the atmosphere. In considering corrective action for hazardous waste treatment, storage, or disposal facilities, the council shall consider regulations that would require the owner or operator, or any previous owner or operator with actual knowledge of the presence of hazardous waste at the facility, to undertake corrective action or such other response measures necessary to protect human health or the environment for all releases of hazardous waste or hazardous constituents from any treatment, storage, or disposal facility or any solid waste management unit at such facility regardless of the time at which waste was placed in such unit.
Such regulations adopted pursuant to this subsection shall in all respects comply with the Environmental Protection Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.
(b) In adopting regulations for hazardous waste management, the council shall consider, in addition to criteria in subdivision (a) of this subsection, establishing criteria for (i) identifying hazardous waste including extraction procedures, toxicity, persistence, and degradability in nature, potential for accumulation in tissue, flammability or ignitability, corrosiveness, reactivity, and generation of pressure through decomposition, heat, or other means, and other hazardous characteristics, (ii) listing all materials it deems hazardous and which should be subject to regulation, and (iii) locating treatment, storage, or disposal facilities for such wastes. In adopting criteria for flammability and ignitability of wastes pursuant to subdivision (b)(i) of this subsection, no regulation shall be adopted without the approval of the State Fire Marshal.
(c) In adopting regulations for hazardous waste management, the council shall establish a schedule of fees to be paid to the director by licensees or permittees operating hazardous waste processing facilities or disposal areas on the basis of a monetary value per cubic foot or per pound of the hazardous wastes, sufficient but not exceeding the amount necessary to reimburse the department for the costs of monitoring such facilities or areas during and after operation of such facilities or areas. The licensees may assess a cost against persons using the facilities or areas. The director shall remit any money collected from fees paid to him or her to the State Treasurer who shall credit the entire amount thereof to the General Fund.
(d) In adopting regulations for solid waste disposal, the council shall consider storage, collection, transportation, processing, resource recovery, and disposal of solid waste, developmental and operational plans for solid waste disposal areas, conditions for permitting of solid waste disposal areas, modification, suspension, or revocation of such permits, regulations of operations of disposal areas, including site improvements, fire prevention, ground water protection, safety and restricted access, handling of liquid and hazardous materials, insect and rodent control, salvage operations, and the methods of disposing of accumulations of junk outside of solid waste disposal areas. Such regulations shall in all respects comply with the Environmental Protection Act, the Integrated Solid Waste Management Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.
(14) In adopting regulations governing discharges or emissions of oil and other hazardous materials into the waters, in the air, or upon the land of the state, the council shall consider the requirements of the Integrated Solid Waste Management Act, methods for prevention of such discharges or emissions, and the responsibility of the discharger or emitter for cleanup, toxicity, degradability, and dispersal characteristics of the substance.
(15) In adopting regulations governing composting and composting sites, the council shall give consideration to:
(a) Approval of a proposed site by the local governing body, including the zoning authority, if any, prior to issuance of a permit by the department;
(b) Issuance of permits by the department for such composting operations, with conditions if necessary;
(c) Submission of construction and operational plans by the applicant for a permit to the department, with approval of such plans before issuance of such permit;
(d) A term of up to ten years for such permits;
(e) Renewal of permits if the operation has been in substantial compliance with composting regulations adopted pursuant to this subsection, permit conditions, and operational plans;
(f) Review by the department of materials to be composted, including chemical analysis when found by the department to be necessary;
(g) Inspections of such compost sites by the department. Operations out of compliance with composting regulations, permit conditions, or operational plans shall be given a reasonable time for voluntary compliance, and failure to do so within the specified time shall result in a hearing after notice is given, at which time the owner or operator shall appear and show cause why his or her permit should not be revoked;
(h) Special permits of the department for demonstration projects not to exceed six months;
(i) Exemptions from permits of the department; and
(j) The Integrated Solid Waste Management Act.
(16) Any person operating or responsible for the operation of air, water, or land contaminant sources of any class for which the rules and regulations of the council require reporting shall make reports containing information as may be required by the department concerning quality and quantity of discharges and emissions, location, size, and height of contaminant outlets, processes employed, fuels used, and the nature and time periods or duration of discharges and emissions, and such other information as is relevant to air, water, or land pollution and is available.
(17) Prior to adopting, amending, or repealing standards and classifications of air, water, and land quality and rules and regulations under the Integrated Solid Waste Management Act or the Livestock Waste Management Act, the council shall, after due notice, conduct public hearings thereon. Notice of public hearings shall specify the waters or the area of the state for which standards of air, water, or land are sought to be adopted, amended, or repealed and the time, date, and place of such hearing. Such hearing shall be held in the general area to be affected by such standards. Such notice shall be given in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.
(18) Standards of quality of the air, water, or land of the state and rules and regulations adopted under the Integrated Solid Waste Management Act or the Livestock Waste Management Act or any amendment or repeal of such standards or rules and regulations shall become effective upon adoption by the council and filing in the office of the Secretary of State. In adopting standards of air, water, and land quality or making any amendment thereof, the council shall specify a reasonable time for persons discharging wastes into the air, water, or land of the state to comply with such standards and upon the expiration of any such period of time may revoke or modify any permit previously issued which authorizes the discharge of wastes into the air, water, or land of this state which results in reducing the quality of such air, water, or land below the standards established therefor by the council.
(19) All standards of quality of air, water, or land and all rules and regulations adopted pursuant to law by the council prior to May 29, 1981, and applicable to specified air, water, or land are hereby approved and adopted as standards of quality of and rules and regulations for such air, water, or land.
(20) In addition to such standards as are heretofore authorized, the council shall adopt and promulgate rules and regulations to set standards of performance, effluent standards, pretreatment standards, treatment standards, toxic pollutant standards and limitations, effluent limitations, effluent prohibitions, and quantitative limitations or concentrations which shall in all respects conform with and meet the requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System in the Clean Water Act, as amended, 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.
(21)(a) The council shall adopt and promulgate rules and regulations requiring all new or renewal permit or license applicants regulated under the Environmental Protection Act, the Integrated Solid Waste Management Act, or the Livestock Waste Management Act to establish proof of financial responsibility by providing funds in the event of abandonment, default, or other inability of the permittee or licensee to meet the requirements of its permit or license or other conditions imposed by the department pursuant to the acts. The council may exempt classes of permittees or licensees from the requirements of this subdivision when a finding is made that such exemption will not result in a significant risk to the public health and welfare.
(b) Proof of financial responsibility shall include any of the following made payable to or held in trust for the benefit of the state and approved by the department:
(i) A surety bond executed by the applicant and a corporate surety licensed to do business in this state;
(ii) A deposit of cash, negotiable bonds of the United States or the state, negotiable certificates of deposit, or an irrevocable letter of credit of any bank or other savings institution organized or transacting business in the United States in an amount or which has a market value equal to or greater than the amount of the bonds required for the bonded area under the same terms and conditions upon which surety bonds are deposited;
(iii) An established escrow account; or
(iv) A bond of the applicant without separate surety upon a satisfactory demonstration to the director that such applicant has the financial means sufficient to self-bond pursuant to bonding requirements adopted by the council consistent with the purposes of this subdivision.
(c) The director shall determine the amount of the bond, deposit, or escrow account which shall be reasonable and sufficient so the department may, if the permittee or licensee is unable or unwilling to do so and in the event of forfeiture of the bond or other financial responsibility methods, arrange to rectify any improper management technique committed during the term of the permit or license and assure the performance of duties and responsibilities required by the permit or license pursuant to law, rules, and regulations.
(d) In determining the amount of the bond or other method of financial responsibility, the director shall consider the requirements of the permit or license or any conditions specified by the department, the probable difficulty of completing the requirements of such permit, license, or conditions due to such factors as topography, geology of the site, and hydrology, and the prior history of environmental activities of the applicant.
This subsection shall apply to hazardous waste treatment, storage, or disposal facilities which have received interim status.
(22)(a) The council shall adopt and promulgate rules and regulations no more stringent than the provisions of section 1453 et seq. of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 300j-13 et seq., for public water system source water assessment programs.
(b) The council may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations to implement a source water petition program no more stringent than section 1454 et seq. of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 300j-14 et seq.
(23) The council may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations for the issuance of permits relating to the discharge of dredged or fill material into the waters of the United States under section 404 of the Clean Water Act, as amended, 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq., giving consideration to (a) when such permits are required and exemptions, application, and filing requirements, (b) terms and conditions affecting such permits, notice and public participation, and duration, (c) review of such permits, (d) monitoring, recording, and reporting requirements, (e) compensatory mitigation, and (f) such other requirements not inconsistent with the Clean Water Act, as amended, 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.
(24) The council may establish fees for applications, determinations, permits, licenses, or similar authorizations for the discharge of dredged and fill material under section 404 of the Clean Water Act, as amended, 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq., to be collected by the department. The fees shall be sufficient to pay the department for the direct and indirect costs of administering a permitting program under section 404 of the Clean Water Act.
- Laws 1971, LB 939, § 5;
- Laws 1972, LB 1435, § 4;
- Laws 1973, LB 538, § 2;
- Laws 1974, LB 1029, § 3;
- Laws 1979, LB 342, § 2;
- Laws 1980, LB 853, § 3;
- Laws 1981, LB 216, § 3;
- Laws 1983, LB 356, § 5;
- Laws 1984, LB 1078, § 3;
- Laws 1986, LB 1008, § 2;
- Laws 1992, LB 1257, § 79;
- Laws 1993, LB 623, § 3;
- Laws 1994, LB 570, § 7;
- Laws 1994, LB 1031, § 1;
- Laws 1997, LB 517, § 25;
- Laws 1998, LB 1209, § 21;
- Laws 1999, LB 784, § 1;
- Laws 2001, LB 126, § 1;
- Laws 2001, LB 667, § 49;
- Laws 2004, LB 449, § 1;
- Laws 2006, LB 872, § 3;
- Laws 2011, LB30, § 1;
- Laws 2015, LB413, § 2;
- Laws 2019, LB302, § 110;
- Laws 2022, LB809, § 5.
- Effective Date: July 21, 2022
A city ordinance with a mandatory bond requirement conflicts with subsection (21) of this section, which provides for certain exemptions from the requirement of showing financial responsibility, and is impermissible. State ex rel. Alma v. Furnas Cty. Farms, 266 Neb. 558, 667 N.W.2d 512 (2003).