Chapter 125-M

Section 125-M:1

    125-M:1 Findings and Purpose. –
I. The general court finds that mercury is a persistent, toxic pollutant that accumulates in the food chain and poses a significant adverse threat to the state's public health and welfare and to the natural environment, including fish and wildlife. As a potent neurotoxin, mercury exposure in humans can lead to birth defects, brain damage, elevated blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, low grade intermittent fevers, gastrointestinal irritation, muscle degeneration, and even death. The effects of mercury exposure on plants include decreased chlorophyll production, inhibited growth, root and leaf damage, accelerated aging, and death. Reproductive problems are the primary concern for birds. In response to the human health risk posed by mercury, the state of New Hampshire has issued a statewide advisory on the consumption of fresh water fish. This fish consumption advisory applies to all freshwater fish species collected from all inland waters. It advises women of childbearing age and young children to limit their consumption of freshwater fish to no more than one meal per month; all other people are advised to limit their consumption to no more than 4 meals per month. The Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce have estimated that fishing expenditures in the state equal approximately $320 million annually, while the American Sportfishing Association has estimated that these expenditures support about 7,700 jobs in New Hampshire. Consequently, mercury deposition may have an impact on New Hampshire's recreational economy.
II. The general court further finds that deposition of mercury and mercury compounds is occurring in the state of New Hampshire. While the majority of emissions originate from sources outside of New Hampshire, sources within the state also contribute to mercury deposition in New Hampshire and in the northeast region. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the state of New Hampshire to undertake prudent action to reduce its contribution to mercury deposition. Approximately 98 percent of the mercury emitted by anthropogenic (man-made) sources in New Hampshire comes from the incineration of municipal solid waste and medical waste, and from the combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil.
III. The general court acknowledges that in June of 1998, the New England states and the eastern Canadian provinces jointly endorsed the implementation of a Regional Mercury Action Plan calling for the virtual elimination of anthropogenic mercury emissions, with an interim goal of reducing mercury emissions 50 percent by the year 2003.
IV. The general court recognizes the importance of additional research into the human health and ecological impacts of mercury contamination, the development of technologies to reduce and measures to avoid mercury emissions to the ambient air from sources such as coal-burning electricity generation plants, and the assessment of the relative cost-effectiveness of such technologies and measures. The general court finds, however, that reducing the substantial mercury emissions from municipal waste combustors and hospital, medical and infectious waste incinerators through the use of existing technology where it can be applied cost effectively is prudent environmental policy for the state of New Hampshire.
V. Ash landfills which serve municipal waste combustors may experience increased mercury levels in the ash disposed at such landfills as a result of efforts to lower mercury emissions from such municipal waste combustors. Therefore, the general court finds that it is appropriate to implement mercury controls on municipal waste combustors after the department of environmental services conducts a detailed study and review of the ash landfills in the state to make certain that all necessary safeguards are in place to protect against environmental degradation from such sources and ensure the protection of drinking water supplies.

Source. 1999, 350:1, eff. Jan. 21, 2000.

Section 125-M:2

    125-M:2 Definitions. –
I. " Commissioner " means the commissioner of the department of environmental services.
II. " Control efficiency " means the percentage of mercury removed by the pollution control system expressed as a percentage of the total mercury that is introduced into the pollution control system.
III. " Department " means the department of environmental services.
IV. " Design capacity " means the maximum design 24-hour charging rate of a municipal waste combustor capable of continuously burning municipal solid waste.
V. [Repealed.]
VI. " Governor " means the governor of the state of New Hampshire.
VII. " Hospital, medical and infectious waste incinerator " means any device that combusts any amount of hospital waste or medical/infectious waste.
VIII. " Hospital waste " means discards generated at a hospital, except unused items returned to the manufacturer. Hospital waste does not include human corpses, remains, and anatomical parts that are intended for interment or cremation.
IX. " Medical/infectious waste " means "medical/infectious waste" as defined in 40 CFR 60.51c.
X. " Municipal solid waste " means solid waste generated at residences, commercial or industrial establishments, and institutions, but excluding construction and demolition debris, automobile scrap and other motor vehicle waste, infectious waste, asbestos waste, contaminated soil and other absorbent media and ash other than ash from household stoves.
XI. " Municipal waste combustor " or " combustor " means a device that combusts solid, liquid, or gaseous municipal solid waste for the primary purpose of volume reduction or disposal. Municipal waste combustors do not include internal combustion engines, gas turbines, or other combustion devices that combust landfill gases collected by landfill gas collection systems.
XII. " Solid waste " means "solid waste" as defined by RSA 149-M:4, XXII.

Source. 1999, 350:1. 2002, 172:5, eff. May 15, 2002.

Section 125-M:3

    125-M:3 Mercury Reduction and Control Program. –
The department shall develop a mercury reduction and control program. The program shall include, but is not limited to, the following:
I. Any municipal waste combustor with a design capacity to burn 100 tons per day or more of municipal solid waste shall reduce its mercury emissions to achieve a mercury emission rate of no greater than 0.028 mg/dscm corrected to 7 percent oxygen by volume on a dry basis, or at least 85 percent control efficiency.
II. The department shall evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of establishing a mercury emission limit of 0.028 mg/dscm corrected to 7 percent oxygen by volume on a dry basis for:
(a) Municipal waste combustors with a design capacity to burn less than 100 tons per day of municipal solid waste; and
(b) Hospital, medical and infectious waste incinerators.
III. The department shall evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of establishing a mercury emission limit for coal-burning electricity generation plants.

Source. 1999, 350:1. 2002, 172:1, eff. May 15, 2002.

Section 125-M:4

    125-M:4 Rulemaking Authority. –
The commissioner shall adopt rules, under RSA 541-A relative to:
I. Procedures and frequency for stack testing, testing protocols, measurement methods, and other such actions as may be necessary to verify compliance with this chapter.
II. Fees for implementing and enforcing the terms and conditions relating to reduction of mercury emissions of a permit issued in accordance with RSA 125-C.

Source. 1999, 350:1, eff. Jan. 21, 2000.

Section 125-M:5

    125-M:5 Compliance. – No person shall operate a municipal waste combustor with the design capacity to burn 100 tons per day or more of municipal solid waste without a temporary or operating permit issued by the department in accordance with RSA 125-C. Any source subject to this section shall file a complete application for a permit or permit modification under the provisions of RSA 125-C and a plan for achieving compliance with this chapter.

Source. 1999, 350:1. 2002, 172:2, eff. May 15, 2002.

Section 125-M:6

    125-M:6 Enforcement. –
I. All of the enforcement provisions of RSA 125-C:15 shall apply to violations of this chapter.
II. Each day of a continuing violation shall constitute a separate violation.

Source. 1999, 350:1, eff. Jan. 21, 2000.

Section 125-M:7

    125-M:7 Variances. – Any variance granted under this chapter shall be granted by the commissioner upon application and after a hearing, in accordance with RSA 125-C:16.

Source. 1999, 350:1, eff. Jan. 21, 2000.