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New Mercury Product Disposal Bill in Tennessee Signed into Law (Bill, SB 2403)

www.capitol.tn.gov

Solid Waste Disposal - As enacted, enacts the "Mercury Product Disposal Control Act." - Amends TCA Title 68, Chapter 211. Prohibits the landfill disposal of mercury-containing products, including lamps, from most generators.

Fiscal Summary

Increase State Expenditures - $3,300/One-Time/General Fund $11,100/One-Time/Environmental Protection Fund $63,100/Recurring/General Fund $211,100/Recurring/Environmental Protection Fund

Bill Summary

Under present law, there are different requirements for the disposal of solid waste depending on how the waste is categorized, for example, whether the waste is disposed as non-hazardous waste, hazardous waste, or universal waste.
 
This bill prohibits a covered generator from disposing of mercury-added consumer products as non-hazardous solid waste on or after January 1, 2011. This bill requires a covered generator, on or after January 1, 2011, to ensure that its discarded mercury-added consumer products are:

  1. Shipped for recycling, treatment, or disposal to either a universal waste destination facility or a hazardous waste management facility that has been permitted to manage such materials by the federal environmental protection agency (EPA) pursuant to the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), by a state program that has been authorized by the EPA to implement the pertinent portions of RCRA in the state, or by a foreign government; and
  2. Managed prior to receipt at such facility in accordance with, as applicable:

         a. The hazardous waste management requirements under present law; or
         b. The universal waste management requirements under present law.
 
Under this bill, "covered generator" means any generator that:

  1. Employs 12 or more employees;
  2. Owns or maintains a building, excluding private residences, of at least 3,000 square feet;
  3. Owns or maintains electrical distribution systems;
  4. Owns or operates a business that demolishes buildings, excluding private residences; or
  5. Owns or operates a tanning bed salon business.

Any person who separates and collects from a municipal solid waste stream either mercury-added consumer products from generators that are not covered generators, or mercury-containing excluded products would be subject to the same requirements described above. "Mercury-containing excluded product" means:

  1. Photographic film and paper;
  2. Pharmaceutical products;
  3. Biological products;
  4. Any substance that can lawfully be sold over the counter without a prescription under federal law;
  5. Any device or material from which the elemental mercury or mercury compounds have been removed; or
  6. Button batteries used in hearing aids, radios, cameras, and other devices.

By 30 days prior to January 1, 2011, the department of environment and conservation would develop and publish, including posting on the department's web site, educational materials on the requirements of this bill and the effects of improper mercury disposal.
 
ON MARCH 22, 2010, THE SENATE ADOPTED AMENDMENTS #1, #2 AND #3, AND PASSED SENATE BILL 2403, AS AMENDED.
 
AMENDMENT #1 removes the commissioner's authority to enforce the requirements of this bill, reduces the number of employees that an employer must employ in order to be subject to the requirements of this bill from 12 to 10, and adds a requirement that various departments and agencies of state government must include in inspection questionnaires or on certain Internet-based forms a series of questions that are designed to educate businesses of requirements for disposing of mercury-added consumer products and the importance of recycling and proper handling of such products.
 
AMENDMENT #2 removes authorization for the board to promulgate emergency rules in order to implement this bill. This amendment redefines "disposed of" to mean originally placed in a solid waste container whose contents are destined for delivery to a solid waste landfill for disposal or top an incinerator, boiler or industrial furnace for burning.
 
AMENDMENT #3 replaces the requirement that the department of revenue include the informational inquiry in its online business license registration system with a requirement that the department include on its web site a link to information concerning recycling of mercury containing products that is contained on the web site of the department of environment and conservation.
 
ON APRIL 12, 2010, THE HOUSE SUBSTITUTED SENATE BILL 2403 FOR HOUSE BILL 3218, ADOPTED AMENDMENT #4, AND PASSED SENATE BILL 2403, AS AMENDED.
 
AMENDMENT #4 adds medical devices and restorative dental materials as "mercury-containing excluded items."


*For more information on the state of Tennessee General Assembly go to www.capitol.tn.gov

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