french regulations

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All these processes are regulated by legislation on classified plants as established by the law of the 19th July 1976.

the administrative body responsible for ICPE

The administrative body responsible for the plants that have been classified for environmental protection purposes (in French = ICPE = Installations Classées pour la Protection de l’Environnement / Classified facilities for environmental protection) has been centralised within the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and of the Environment that more specifically includes two departments responsible for environmental problems directly associated with wastewater treatment plants and their waste products: the water department and the pollution and risk prevention department (in French = DPPR = Direction de la Prévention des Pollutions et des Risques / Department for the prevention of pollution and hazards).

If the wastewater treatment plant comes under the direct auspices of the water department, the processing of the waste generated, because of the technical treatment processes applied, is governed by the ICPE and, consequently, falls within the scope of the DPPR.

In general, the purpose of the DPPR is to reduce pollution and nuisances in physical environments and this body exercises the rights vested in the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and of the Environment on issues relating to plant that has been classified for environmental protection purposes.

Within the DPPR, there are two departments that are directly involved in activities associated with thermal processes applied to sludge treatment:

  • the products and waste division (in French = SDPD = Sous-Direction de Produits et des Déchets / Products and waste branch) whose main task is to evaluate pollution and risks created by the products, to forecast waste output and to ensure that it is properly disposed of, to elaborate the appropriate regulations as well as rules applicable to the transport of this waste;
  • the industrial environment department (in French = SEI = Service d’Environnement Industriel / Industrial environment branch) whose main task is to reduce and prevent pollution and nuisances caused by factories. Within this context, it is responsible for ensuring that regulations on classified plants are implemented and for delivering to the regional directorates for industry, research and the environment (in French = DRIRE = Direction Régionale de l’industrie, de la Recherche et l’Environnement / Industry, research and environment regional authority), instructions on rules to be imposed on industrial establishments.

the basic principles of ICPE regulations

Legislation covering classified plants has put a simple system in place. Theindustrial activities governed by this legislation can be found in a list where they either come under an approval scheme or a declaration scheme:

  • the declaration (which is a notification) concerns the less polluting or less dangerous activities. It consists in informing the prefect of the business being run (and the prefect then issues a receipt for this declaration) and in complying with harmonised instructions;
  • the authorisation concerns the more polluting or dangerous activities. This procedure is initiated by the formation of an authorisation application dossier that includes a study of the impact made and a study of the dangers. The dossier is then examined by the prefect’s departments. It is submitted to various consultation procedures and, in particular, a public consultation (this is a public enquiry). The procedure is finalised by the delivery (or rejection) of the authorisation concerned in the form or a prefectoral order specifying the instructions applicable (e.g. on discharges: limit concentration levels and flows for various pollutants) that the industrial applicant must obey.

The authorisation procedure is a weighty procedure that takes at least nine months to complete.

ICPE regulations applied to sludge heat processes

As a rule, the processes described are covered by both the declaration and the authorisation procedures.

thermal drying

The main ICPE nomenclature headings that apply are:

  • either 322 A: “Storage and Treatment of household waste and other urban waste”. This section requires the authorisation procedure with a 1 km radius for posting of notices;
  • or 167 A: ditto 322 A but applicable when industrial sludge is involved;
  • and 2915-2: “Heating processes using a heat exchange fluid”:
    • when the heat exchange fluid is a mineral oil, used at a temperature below its flash point, all that is required is a declaration;
    • when the heat exchange fluid is a synthetic oil, the authorisation procedure applies.

fluidised bed incineration, pyrolysis and wet oxidation

322 B or 167 C depending on the origin of the sludge. This is also an authorisation procedure with a 2 km radius for posting of notices.

220: “Storing and using oxygen” (specific to wet oxidation). Depending on the quantities stocked, the declaration or the authorisation procedure will apply.

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