Mulch Processing Facilities
Mulch processing facilities create a product derived from tree debris, yard trimmings, and other suitable woody material, which is intended for use on soil surfaces to prevent the growth of weeds and minimize erosion. This differs from compost, which is a humus-like soil amendment used as a source of nutrients, organic matter, and/or liming value.
New York State Regulations
As of November 4, 2017, mulch processing facilities are regulated under 6 NYCRR Part 361-4. The production and storage of mulch has been included in the solid waste management facility rules to reduce environmental impacts including dust, odor, adverse water quality, and fires.
Mulch Processing Facilities Guidance (PDF, 2.2 MB) - New guidance has been developed alongside the mulch processing facilities regulations (6 NYCRR Part 361-4).
Long Island Mulch Management
New York Environmental Conservation Law 15-0517 was passed on November 29, 2017 requiring DEC to promulgate rules and regulations to prevent water quality impairments at organic waste management facilities in Long Island, which is located over a sole source aquifer. These rules will include groundwater monitoring, setbacks from wells and surface water bodies, and stormwater control methods.
In June 2018, DEC published a summary report for a study that was conducted to evaluate the impacts to groundwater from mulch processing operations on Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk Counties). This two-year field study examined the potential groundwater impacts of vegetative organic waste management and developed best management practices for stormwater runoff for these sites, as well as facility monitoring recommendations. The summary report is now available: Vegetative Organic Waste Management Facility Research (PDF, 7.5 MB).