Israel Environment Bulletin Autumn 1994-5755, Vol. 17, No. 3

ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION

Hazardous Substances Regulations
(Import and Export of Hazardous Wastes), 1994

Regulations on the import and export of hazardous wastes, under the Hazardous Waste Law of 1993, were promulgated in July 1994 and entered into force in October 1994. The regulations prohibit the import or export of hazardous wastes into Israel, except under a permit issued by the Minister of the Environment. A permit may not be issued for the import or export of hazardous waste for purposes of disposal nor may it be issued if the waste is destined for or originates in a country which is not a party to the 1989 Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.

Import is conditional on the provision of data to the Minister of the Environment on the type of hazardous waste and its composition, based on results obtained in an Israeli laboratory. Moreover, the hazardous waste must be transferred to Israel, stored, maintained and treated in a manner which win not damage the environment. In the case of export, the competent authority under the Basel Convention must provide its written consent to receive the waste, and export must proceed in accordance with its requirements.

The granting of a permit is subject to conditions which may be imposed by the Minister of the Environment; the permit may be canceled if the conditions or requirements set forth in the regulations are not met. Permit holders are required to report on quantities of imported or exported hazardous waste in accordance with the requirements of the Minister of the Environment.

Water Regulations (Prevention of Water Pollution)
(Reduction of Salt Use in the Regeneration Process), 1994

Industrial water softening processes are major contributors to the high chloride concentration of Israel’s wastewater and subsequently to the pollution of water and soil. In order to reduce the quantity of salt used in the water softening process and the consequent emission of brines into the municipal water system, the Ministry of the Environment has promulgated regulations, scheduled to enter into force in January 1995, on the reduction of salt use in the regeneration of ion exchange. The regulations do not apply to plants which operate under a permit for the discharge of brine solutions to the sea or to plants which totally recycle their salt solutions.

The regulations require industry to undertake a number of technical steps to bring about salt reduction in the regeneration of ion exchange. They call for the installation of a water meter for cumulative measurement of the quantity of soft water produced by the ion exchanger and the.quantity of salt it uses for the regeneration process. The regulations limit the use of salt to 235 grams salt per 100 grams hardness when sodium chloride is used in the regeneration process and to 300 grams salt per 100 grams hardness when potassium chloride is used.

Routine sampling and analysis are required to follow up and to test various parameters including the hardness of the water reaching the plant, the quantity of soft water produced and the quantity of salt used. Owners are required to keep records of the results for a two-year period. Specific storage conditions for the salt are also required.

A plant using over 100 tons of salt per year for water softening purposes is required to submit the results of the follow up to the Minister of the Environment annually.

Hazardous Substances Regulations
(Registration of Formulations for the Control of Pests Harmful to Man), 1994

In accordance with an agreement between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Environment, regulations were promulgated in August 1994 transferring authority for the registration of formulations for the control of pests harmful to man to the Ministry of the Environment.

The regulations prohibit the production, import or maintenance of any substance which is not registered and which does not comply with the conditions stipulated in the registration and in the regulations. Authority for registering pesticides for the protection of public health is granted to the officer appointed by the Minister of the Environment

(i.e. the head of the Pest Surveillance and Control Division of the Ministry of the Environment).

Applications for the production or import of unregistered pesticides must be submitted to the officer along with relevant documents, ranging from professional literature to complete toxicological data and safety data sheets.

Pesticide containers must bear a clear label with full information concerning the substance. Use of a pesticide in contravention to the directions specified on the label is prohibited. Advertisements must include the following warning: "The Ministry of the Environment has established that use of this pesticide in contravention to label directions may be dangerous to your health and the quality of your environment." Advertising of unregistered pesticides is prohibited. Pesticide containers must be marked with the standard poison symbol.

A professional committee, composed of six representatives, evenly divided between the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Health, advises the appointed officer and discusses all applications for pesticides. Registration is granted for a period of three years. The regulations stipulate a number of cases in which the appointed officer, with the agreement of the professional committee, may refuse to register a particular pesticide, or may cancel registration or make it conditional upon the fulfillment of a number of prerequisites. For example, registration may be denied if another registered pesticide exists for the same purpose which is less harmful to humans, flora, fauna or the environment.

Streams and Springs Authorities Order
(Kishon River Authority), 1994

The Kishon River Authority was established in September 1994 within the framework of the Streams and Springs Authorities Law. It is the second river authority to be established under the law. The first, the Yarkon River Authority, was established in 1988.

The authority’s functions include the prevention and abatement of stream pollution, planning and implementation of rehabilitation schemes, and transformation of the area into a recreational site.

The authority is granted the necessary powers for the fulfillment of its functions pursuant to numerous laws. It is granted authority in matters of water pollution prevention, sanitation and disposal of nuisances, licensing conditions designed to prevent negative impacts from industrial plants on the river, preparation and submission of detailed plans to planning authorities, appointment of inspectors and levying of monetary fees on relevant corporations and local authorities to enable it to fulfill its mandate.

Authority members include representatives of government ministries, local authorities, public corporations such as the Jewish National Fund, green bodies, tourism, water and transport authorities, and owners of the lands adjacent to the river. The authority will operate by means of an administrative board appointed by the Minister of the Environment.

Licensing of Businesses Law
(Amendment #10), 1994

The Licensing of Businesses Law empowers the Minister of the Interior to designate and define businesses requiring licenses in order to fulfill several aims, including environmental protection and the prevention of nuisances. Licenses are subject to prior approval by a person empowered by the Ministry of the Environment, Police, Labor and Welfare, Agriculture or Health, depending on the type of business. The granting of approval may be subject to special conditions which must be fulfilled before the license is issued or thereafter.

The most recent amendment to the law, which entered into force in August 1994, authorizes the Minister of the Environment to appoint an environmental officer, empowered to issue warnings to offenders in case of non-compliance with the law, its regulations or conditions, to issue administrative stop orders, and to enter premises in order to examine whether the provisions of the law, regulations and conditions are complied with.

The amendment also broadens the authority of the Minister of the Environment to promulgate regulations, in consultation with the Minister of Health, designed to ensure environmental quality and the prevention of nuisances. Previously, this authority only extended to regulations designed to ensure proper sanitary conditions.

In order to shorten bureaucratic procedures, the amendment authorizes the Minister of the Interior, with the agreement of the relevant government ministries, to designate by order those businesses which are exempt from the prior approval of any or all of the ministries. Such exemption, however, does not detract from the authority of the ministries to stipulate special conditions within the license. Thus, the Ministry of the Environment may allow for the exemption of certain categories of businesses whose activities are not expected to cause adverse environmental impacts without abrogating its authority to attach environmental conditions in case of need. Of the 5,000 license requests received by the Environment Ministry each year, half are irrelevant. The amendment will enable the ministry to deal only with those businesses whose activities generate environmental impacts.