Chapter 125-N

Section 125-N:1

    125-N:1 Findings and Purpose. –
I. The general court finds that the air pollutant dioxin is a persistent bioaccumulative toxic (PBT) compound that accumulates in the food chain, posing a significant adverse threat to New Hampshire's public health and welfare and to its natural environment, including fish and wildlife. As a potent toxicant, dioxin can cause a number of adverse effects in humans including reproductive and developmental disorders, suppression of the immune system, and cancer.
II. The term "dioxin" actually refers to a group of chemical compounds that share certain similar chemical structures and mode-of-action biological characteristics. There are a total of 17 dioxin-like compounds that are members of 2 closely related families: chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (CDDs) and chlorinated dibenzofurans (CDFs). Although some dioxin is produced naturally, it is mainly emitted as an unintended byproduct of a number of human activities. In the backyard burning of domestic waste, incomplete combustion occurs, resulting in dioxin formation. Dioxin builds up in soils, sediments, and plants; bioaccumulates in animal and fish tissue; and passes up the food chain to humans.
III. The general court further finds that while the majority of dioxin deposited in New Hampshire originates from sources outside of the state, sources within the state also contribute to deposition of dioxin in New Hampshire and in the northeast region. Dioxin emitted by anthropogenic (man-made) sources in New Hampshire comes from a number of sources including the backyard burning of trash and other combustible waste. The general court finds that the department should conduct further research and attempt to quantify the sources of dioxin emitted in New Hampshire.
IV. The general court recognizes the importance of continuing research into the human health and ecological effects of dioxin contamination. The general court also recognizes that due to existing state and federal regulations, releases of dioxin to the environment nationally have declined significantly over the past 25 years, and will continue to decline for some industrial sources as new federal regulations are implemented. Further, the general court recognizes that cost-effective technologies and pollution prevention practices need to be studied, developed and, where appropriate, implemented to reduce dioxin emissions. The general court finds, however, that some steps to reduce the dioxin pollution to which New Hampshire citizens are subjected are readily available, and that such steps should be promptly undertaken. Initial research by the department of environmental services indicates that backyard burning produces 17 percent of the dioxin emitted in New Hampshire. This figure comes from actual testing of pollution emitted by a typical burn barrel, multiplied by an estimated 5,000 such barrels in the state. Fire chiefs surveyed by the department of environmental services reported that there are probably more than 5,000 such barrels, indicating that the 17 percent figure could be low. The general court finds that imposing a ban on backyard burning of trash and other combustible domestic waste is a readily available step, and as such, represents a prudent policy for the protection of public health and the environment in the state of New Hampshire.

Source. 2001, 285:1, eff. July 16, 2001.

Section 125-N:2

    125-N:2 Definitions. –
In this chapter:
I. "Commissioner" means the commissioner of the department of environmental services.
II. "Department" means the department of environmental services.
III. "Person" means any individual, partnership, firm or co-partnership, association, company, trust, corporation, department, bureau, agency, private or municipal corporation, or any political subdivision of the state, the United States or political subdivisions or agencies thereof, or any other entity recognized by law as subject to rights and duties.
IV. "Combustible domestic waste" means combustible waste such as, but not limited to, household trash, packaging materials, plastics, coated or laminated papers, rubber, painted or treated wood, coated or treated cardboard, oily rags, and animal, vegetable, and kitchen waste. The term does not include untreated wood, leaves, brush, or paper products generated at a residence.
V. "Stationary source" means "stationary source" as defined in RSA 125-C:2, XI.
VI. "Medical waste incinerator" means any device that combusts any amount of hospital waste or medical/infectious waste, except for municipal waste combustors, cement kilns, and combustors required to have a permit under 42 U.S.C., section 6925.
VII. "Hospital waste" means waste 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.
VIII. "Medical/infectious waste" means any solid waste that is generated in the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals, in research pertaining thereto, or in the production or testing of biologicals. Medical/infectious waste does not include any hazardous waste regulated under RSA 147-A.

Source. 2001, 285:1. 2004, 13:1, eff. June 4, 2004.

Section 125-N:3

    125-N:3 Dioxin Emissions Reduction and Control Program. –
I. The department shall develop a dioxin emissions reduction and control program. The program shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(a) Studying the human health and ecological impacts of dioxin emissions and contamination.
(b) Encouraging the development of, and evaluating, technologies and pollution prevention practices, to reduce or eliminate dioxin emissions to the ambient air from stationary sources.
(c) Promoting residential, commercial, and industrial energy efficiency and conservation programs to reduce or eliminate dioxin emissions.
(d) Supporting and encouraging federal legislation to reduce dioxin emissions from motor vehicles and other mobile sources.
(e) Continuing pollution prevention efforts, including recycling and outreach and education efforts, to reduce or eliminate dioxin emissions to the ambient air from municipal waste combustors and medical waste incinerators.
(f) Conducting public education and outreach regarding the public health and environmental impacts of backyard trash burning and other sources of dioxin emissions.
(g) Researching and attempting to quantify the sources of dioxin.
II. The department shall not implement or impose dioxin emission limits for emissions resulting from stationary source combustion of virgin petroleum fuels, coal and untreated wood and wood products without further legislative authorization unless such limits are required to be implemented or imposed under federal authority enacted or promulgated after the effective date of this section.

Source. 2001, 285:1, eff. July 16, 2001.

Section 125-N:4

    125-N:4 Prohibition; Residential Open Burning of Combustible Domestic Waste. – Notwithstanding RSA 227-L:17, II, the residential open burning of combustible domestic waste is prohibited.

Source. 2001, 285:1, eff. July 16, 2001.

Section 125-N:5

    125-N:5 Education and Enforcement. –
I. The commissioner, in consultation with the commissioner of the department of natural and cultural resources, shall take reasonable measures to educate the public about the environmental impact of backyard burning and the requirements of this chapter.
II. The commissioner shall have the authority to enforce the provisions of this chapter. Any person who violates the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation and may be assessed an administrative fine for a first offense not to exceed $100 and for subsequent offenses not to exceed $250.
III. Nothing in this chapter shall limit any enforcement or penalty provisions contained in RSA 227-L.

Source. 2001, 285:1, eff. July 16, 2001. 2017, 156:14, I, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 125-N:6

    125-N:6 Medical Waste Incinerators; Construction and Operation Prohibitions. –
I. The construction of a new medical waste incinerator, the modification of an existing medical waste incinerator which increases the amount of any air pollutant emitted by the incinerator, the conversion of a facility into a medical waste incinerator, or the reactivation of a closed medical waste incinerator is prohibited.
II. Beginning on January 1, 2014, the operation of any existing medical waste incinerator is prohibited.

Source. 2004, 13:2, eff. June 4, 2004.