By Zafrir Rinat

The Environmental Protection Ministry is to promote new regulations for the removal of construction waste, making local authorities responsible for such dumping.

The ministry, which only manages to stop one out of every thousand illegal dumpings of construction waste, wants the regulations to ensure that construction waste reaches only legal dumps. Waste that is not legally disposed of often ends up in open areas and becomes an environmental hazard.

Local authorities will be able to charge a fee to fund the new service.

Representatives of the Union of Local Authorities and a forum of the country’s 15 largest cities presented the new regulations to Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan six weeks ago. The regulations were formulated together with the Israel Union for Environmental Defense.

Erdan decided to move ahead on the regulations, and is to present them to the Knesset soon.

“We want the local authorities to take responsibility for dealing with the waste,” Uri Tal, who is in charge of construction waste in the Environmental Protection Ministry, said. Tal said local authorities cannot currently fund construction waste removal through property taxes, and the new regulations would solve this problem. The regulations, Tal said, “would allow the local authority to issue a tender to select a contractor to remove the waste. Builders or renovators will coordinate waste removal with municipal officials, and the city will charge for the service.”

Builders currently contract on their own with companies to remove construction waste, but the work is not always monitored.

After the regulations are passed, only authorized waste removal contractors will provide cities with this service and will provide the city with receipts for every job, which is meant to ensure that the waste is removed to a legal dump.

According to the draft of the regulations proposed by the forum of 15 large cities in discussion with Erdan, the local authorities would be required to report each year to the ministry on the amounts of construction waste it removed or other uses for the waste, such as selling it for recycling. The local authorities would also appoint inspectors to ensure compliance with the regulations.

The new regulations are important for the owners of official waste dumps, which have invested in infrastructure and recycling, but have not been receiving the amounts of waste they expected, due to illegal dumping. Owners of legal dumps have also encountered difficulty selling waste they have crushed to be resold as construction material.

Liad Ortar, who heads the Forum for Recycling Companies, comprised of owners of legal dump sites and sites that treat waste on the way to dump sites, called the regulations “revolutionary,” but added: “It is important to note that this is just the first phase. The next phase will be to require the local authorities, as has been done recently for government companies, to use recycled building materials at all their sites, so that at least one-fifth of all construction material will be of recycled construction waste. Otherwise the waste will reach the sites in an organized matter, but no recycled use will be made of it.”