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Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Mitigation Measures

Mitigation measures to avoid or reduce impacts from hazardous materials and waste management associated with biomass energy development.

The following are examples of mitigation measures that could be applied to reduce hazardous materials and waste management impacts of a project depending upon site- and project-specific conditions. Hazardous materials and waste management impacts are related to the types and amount of equipment and machinery used for the project and the wastes they produce, and material shipments and construction wastes. Many impacts can be reduced or avoided when taken into account during the siting and design phase.

Develop a final set of mitigation measures for the project in consultation with the appropriate federal resource management agencies and stakeholders. Conduct these consultations early in the project development process and preferably prior to final project siting and design.

Siting and Design Mitigation Measures

Siting and design considerations that mitigate impacts include:

  • Prepare a comprehensive list of all hazardous materials to be used, stored, transported, or disposed of during all phases of activity.
  • Develop a hazardous materials management plan addressing storage, use, transportation, and disposal (interim and final) for each item in the comprehensive list. The plan should identify specific details regarding local and federal emergency response.
  • Develop a waste management plan identifying anticipated solid and liquid waste streams and addressing inspection and waste minimization procedures, storage locations, and waste-specific management and disposal requirements.
  • Develop a recycling strategy to be practiced by workers during all project phases.
  • Develop a spill prevention and response plan for addressing storage locations of hazardous wastes, spill prevention measures, training requirements, waste-specific spill response actions, spill response kits, and notifications to authorities.
  • Develop a stormwater management plan to ensure compliance with regulations and to prevent off-site migration of contaminated stormwater or increased soil erosion.
  • Develop a pesticide/herbicide management plan.
  • Investigate the historical use of the area to be disturbed with regard to the potential presence of hazardous materials.

General Mitigation Measures

General mitigation practices and principles that could apply to any or all phases of a biomass energy project include:

  • Implement plans for hazardous materials management, waste management spill prevention and response, stormwater management, and pesticide management. Train employees to promptly contain, report, and/or clean up any oil or hazardous material spill.
  • Provide secondary containment for all on-site hazardous materials and waste storage, including fuel.
  • Containerize and periodically remove wastes for recycling or for disposal at appropriate off-site permitted disposal facilities.
  • Provide portable spill containment and cleanup equipment in all vehicles.
  • Select pesticides/herbicides that are low in human toxicity, known to be effective against the target species, and have minimal effects on non-target species and the environment.
  • Keep vehicles and equipment in good working order to prevent oil and fuel leaks.
  • Document accidental releases as to cause, corrective actions taken, and resulting environmental or health and safety impacts.

Project Phase-Specific Mitigation Measures

Mitigation measures specific to a particular phase of a biomass energy project include:

Biomass Production

  • Implement no-till agriculture to decrease the potential for surface water run-off of pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Evaluate the degree to which no-till agriculture can decrease the use of pesticides in your geographic area. Note that no-till agriculture may increase the use of herbicides in certain areas, which could offset other benefits of this method.
  • Displace annual crops with perennial biomass crops to significantly reduce net pesticide and fertilizer use.


  • Utilize a network of area monitors that would detect any leaks of potentially hazardous chemicals.
  • Require storage tanks for biofuels to have an impermeable liner and to be bermed to hold the entire contents of the storage tanks in the event of a spill.