Environmentally hazardous activities
All activities that can have a negative impact on the environment are called environmentally hazardous. Examples include emissions to air or water, radiation, noise or smell. Environmentally hazardous activities often require a notification or permit.
An environmentally hazardous activity means any use of land, buildings or facilities that in one way or another involves emissions to land, air or water or any other risk of damage to human health or the environment. Anyone who carries out such an action or operates such an activity is also responsible for ensuring that this is done in a way that does not harm people or the environment.
To avoid damage and problems arising, some activities and measures are regulated by environmental legislation. Many activities and measures require a permit or notification to the supervisory authority, which is usually the municipality or county administrative board (in Swedish) External link, opens in new window..
Classification of environmentally hazardous activities
Environmentally hazardous activities are allocated to different supervisory and examination authorities in the Environmental Assessment Ordinance (in Swedish) External link, opens in new window..
Activities subject to authorization
A-activities - are activities that are large or have special handling, such as steelworks. They require a permit from the Land and Environment Court or, in some cases, the government. Supervision is normally carried out by the county administrative board.
B-activities - usually activities that are smaller or have less disruptive activities than A-activities. Examples include crematoria, quarries, large wastewater treatment plants and wind farms. They have permits from the county administrative board.
Västra Gästriklands samhällsbyggnadsförvaltning carries out supervision of the B-activities (the County Administrative Board has transferred the supervision).
Activities subject to notification
C-activities - are activities that are usually slightly smaller than A- and B-activities. Examples of C-activities are mechanical workshops, petrol stations, storage of hazardous waste and agriculture with more than 100 animal units. In order to conduct C-activities, a notification must be made to the Västra Gästriklands samhällsbyggnadsnämnd. The notification should preferably be made 6 weeks in advance.
All other activities
U-activities are often called environmentally hazardous activities that do not belong to categories A, B or C. An example of U-activities are small car workshops.
Even small activities such as sawing wood or building work on your own property are considered U-activities. The provisions of the Environmental Code apply even if no permit or notification is required.
Make a notification of environmental hazardous activities
Taking over an activity
If you plan to take over an environmentally hazardous activity requiring a permit or notification, you must notify the supervisory authority.
It is important that we receive correct information about the operator and the operation of the activity.
Change of environmentally hazardous activities
If you are going to change an existing activity that is classified as environmentally hazardous, you may need to notify or apply for a permit for your change. If the change is notifiable, you must submit a new notification of environmentally hazardous activities to Västra Gästriklands Samhällsbyggnadsförvaltning (VGS).
Always contact VGS if you are unsure what applies before a planned change.
If your change affects the aspects of your activity that make it classified as environmentally hazardous, you may need to either apply for a permit or submit a notification to VGS.
For example, you may be planning a change that will affect the emissions of hazardous substances that your activity currently produces.
Whether the change requires a notification or an application depends on
- the scope of the change
- investment cost
- the type of change
- the effect that the change has on emissions or disturbances to the environment or health.
Change of B-activities
For B-activities, an application for change must be submitted to the county administrative board. Before that, consultation must take place with the county administrative board, among others.
Major change requiring a permit
The change requires a permit if it:
- can significantly affect the environment in a Natura 2000 site
- means that the production volume exceeds the licensed quantity (if the increase is more than ten percent, the entire operation must be reviewed)
- on its own or together with previous changes, means that a nuisance of significance to human health or the environment may arise.
- concerns a change from incineration of only non-hazardous waste to incineration of hazardous waste.
Minor, notifiable changes to Västra Gästriklands samhällsbyggnadsförvaltning
Minor, notifiable changes must be submitted to VGS. There is no lower limit for the notification obligation described in the law. In principle, only direct maintenance measures are considered to be outside the obligation to notify.
The change is notifiable if it:
- does not lead to an increase in pollution or an increase in other disturbances
- does not give rise to a risk of harm to human health or the environment.
- involves switching to less hazardous process chemicals in production.
- involves the replacement of small parts of process equipment with new parts with the same function, purpose or which are better in some way.
- is minor compared to what is a change requiring a permit.
Modification of C-activities
If you as an operator change something within a C-activity that means that the activity becomes a licensable, A- or B-activity, the change must be notified to either the environmental court or the county administrative board.
Notifiable change to the Västra Gästriklands samhällsbyggnadsförvaltning
You must notify the change to the environmental administration at least six weeks before the change takes place.
The change is notifiable if it
- leads to an increase in pollution or an increase in other disturbance so that a nuisance from an environmental and health point of view may arise.
- is extensive in relation to what is stated in any decision.
- involves the use of completely new or different technology
- results in activities, premises or emission points being designed in a different way from that set out in any decision
- results in any decision not reflecting the activities actually carried out.
Businesses that operate or intend to operate a medium-sized combustion plant must inform the supervisory authority about the plant. The plant will then be registered by the supervisory authority (Västra Gästrikland's community development board).
What is a medium-sized incinerator?
A combustion plant is medium-sized if the total installed rated thermal input is 1 megawatt or more, but not more than 50 megawatts. New medium-sized combustion plants may in some cases exceed 50 megawatts.
When does the installation need to be registered?
New combustion plants must be registered before they are put into operation. A new plant means a plant that is put into operation after December 20, 2018.
Other plants, so-called 2018 plants, must be registered according to the transitional rules in the Ordinance on Medium-sized Combustion Plants (2018:471), which means the following:
- No later than January 1, 2024 if the plant's output is higher than 5 MW.
- No later than January 1, 2029 if the plant's output is no more than 5 MW.
If the County Administrative Board is your supervisory authority, notify your establishment via the e-service on their website.
Registered installations in the municipalities of Sandviken, Hofors and Ockelbo
According to the Regulation on medium-sized combustion plants, the supervisory authority must publish registered information on its website. Such information is published below:
Microsoft Sweden 1172 AB
Gamla Tunavägen 1
Tuna 3:4 Sandviken.
When the installation was commissioned or intended to be commissioned
- May 27, 2021 (1.35 MW unit and four 8 MW units)
- October 1, 2022 (Four 8 MW units)
- February 1, 2023 (Four 8 MW units)
- November 29, 2023 (Four 8 MW units)
- April 24, 2024 (4 x 8 MW units)
Diesel engines (backup power)
1.35 MW + 8 MW + 8 MW + 8 MW + 8 MW + 8 MW + 8 MW + 8 MW + 8 MW + 8 MW +
8 MW + 8 MW + 8 MW + 8 MW + 8 MW + 8 MW + 8 MW + 8 MW + 8 MW +
8 MW + 8 MW + 8 MW + 8 MW
Type of fuel
Sandviken Energi AB
When the plant was commissioned
Type of plant
Other medium-sized combustion plant
(One solid fuel boiler, 2 LPG boilers)
4.8 MW (solid fuel boiler) 3 and 3.5 MW (LPG boilers)
Cyclone on solid fuel boiler
Type of fuel
Solid biomass (Pellets) and gaseous fuels other than natural gas (LPG)
Adven Hofors AB
Ovako industrial area building 180
When the installation was commissioned or intended to be commissioned
Type of installation
Other medium-sized combustion plant
19 MW (oil boiler) and 17 MW (solid fuel boiler)
Cyclone (on solid fuel boiler)
Type of fuel
Fuel oil and solid biomass respectively
Bionär Närvärme AB
When the plant was commissioned or intended to be commissioned
Type of plant
Other medium-sized combustion plant
Electric filter and flue gas condensation
Type of fuel
Here you can find more information on the rules that apply to medium-sized combustion plants.
Waste for construction purposes
Excavated material left over from projects can often be reused. However, this requires that they do not adversely affect the environment at the new site. Excavated material that is to be reused on a site other than where it was excavated is a waste according to the legislation. The reuse is called the recovery of waste for construction purposes. Recycling waste for construction purposes often requires a notification or a permit. This also applies to private individuals.
Excavation material is waste
The Environmental Code states that waste means any substance or object which the holder disposes of or intends or is obliged to dispose of. When excavated material is removed from the site where it was generated, it is considered a waste and must therefore be handled in a special way.
Should you reuse excavated soil?
The reuse of excavated soil is positive for the environment if done properly. It can replace finite resources and reduce material and transportation costs, but there is also a risk if you place unsuitable materials on the new site. They may be contaminated or contain substances that are not suitable for you or your intended site. Keep in mind that it is always the responsibility of the person planning to use the masses to have the necessary knowledge to assess the potential environmental impact of your project. You also need to find out whether you need to apply for a permit or report your project to any authorities.
Purpose of the reuse of masses
To be allowed to reuse excavated soil, there must be a purpose for its use. This means that there must be a need for the masses, the technical properties of the masses must match the need, and the amount of masses must be reasonable in relation to the needs of the construction project in question. If these three criteria are not met, the purpose of reusing masses is not fulfilled. If you accept the masses without meeting the three criteria, it is considered a landfill operation. To operate a landfill, a permit from the County Administrative Board is required.
Content of the masses
The risk that the masses may contain contaminants must be assessed by the person who has the masses (the supplier). The supplier must always find out the history of the site where the masses arise and, based on this, examine and, if necessary, take samples of the masses.
If the answer to any of the following questions is yes or if it is uncertain, you or the supplier must take samples of them. If the supplier has taken samples, you should ask to see the analysis results.
- Does the mass come from a property or area in the city center, an industrial area, road area or railway yard?
- Does the mass come from an area where remediation work is ongoing or has been carried out?
- Have there been previous dry cleaning or other activities in the vicinity that used chlorinated aliphatics?
- Does the mass come from demolition work? Could it contain asbestos, blue concrete, PCBs, solvents, oil, tar?
- Does the mass contain elements of demolition waste? For example, concrete, reinforcement, bricks, insulation, cables or other?
- Does the mass contain pieces of asphalt?
- Can the site where the masses come from have previously been filled in?
Sampling should take place at the site where the masses were excavated. The samples should be analysed by an accredited laboratory. The masses must not be mixed with other masses of a different nature or origin before sampling.
There are many factors that determine how the sampling of contaminants in soils should be carried out. Therefore, it is not possible to make a general statement about the number of samples that should be taken and the analytical parameters that should be included in the sampling. Aggregate samples often provide a more reliable picture of the content of the masses than single samples. More samples means a more reliable assessment of the contamination situation and higher costs, but also reduces the risk of misclassification of the waste. The number of samples and the analytical parameters that should be included in the sampling depends on, among other things:
- The origin of the masses
- Type of masses
- Previously known or suspected contamination on the site
- The distribution of substances in the soil (homogeneous or not)
- Type of substances
- The location and use of the masses.
For larger projects or more complex contamination patterns, a sampling plan may need to be developed. Documentation of the analyses must be available for the supervisory authority to review. All analysis protocols must be saved. It must be stated whether the sampling was carried out by taking individual samples or collective samples. The number of samples and how the sampling was carried out must also be stated. The information must be documented in writing.
Waste deposits in excavated soil
It is common for excavation masses from, for example, construction sites and road works to contain bricks, rebar, etc. Such masses may not be reused without this element being sorted and removed by the supplier at the site where the masses come from.
Notification or permit under the Environmental Code
To use excavation masses or other waste for construction purposes, you often need to either notify the Västra Gästrikland community development administration or apply for a permit from the County Administrative Board. It is generally the amount of mass, its content of natural substances and pollutants and the risk of turbidity and exposure to the environment at the new site that determines whether notification or permission is required.
If the risk of pollution is small (minor), the use of masses and other waste for construction purposes must be notified to the Västra Gästrikland Public Works Department. In the notification, you must describe in detail the purpose of your project, your risk assessment, drawings and information about the pollution levels in the material. The e-service (link) and the notification form (link) contain more information about the documentation you need to send with your notification.
For more extensive use of masses and waste for construction purposes with more than a minor risk of environmental impact, permission must be sought from the County Administrative Board (link).
Modification of the natural environment
If there is no risk of pollution spreading from your planned use of masses, but there may be an impact or change to the natural environment at the site, you must submit a notification of consultation to the County Administrative Board (link).
When do you not need to notify?
Sometimes neither notification nor permission is required. Prerequisites for this are that you:
- Are excavating in natural material
- On a site that is not contaminated,
- If the material will be used for construction in its existing state.
- On the site where the excavation was carried out and that
- The use is not harmful or detrimental to human health or the environment.
All of the above criteria must be met and they apply provided that there is a purpose, no more masses than need be used, that the material is technically comparable to traditional materials and does not risk having a negative impact on the environment in the place where it is laid.
Asphalt may be suitable for use in new asphalt production. In general, the same criteria apply as for the reuse of other masses above. Asphalt originating before 1975 may contain coal tar. As there may be a risk of dispersion, there are restrictions on its use. For example, it is usually unsuitable to use the asphalt in water protection areas.
If coal tar is suspected in the asphalt, samples should be taken for 16-PAH, preferably one every 100 meters or per 1500 m2, but always at least two samples. More samples may be required to identify a possible area.
Notification or authorization
When do you not need to notify?
Asphalt with a low content of coal tar (< 70 mg/kg 16-PAH) can be recycled in asphalt plants or in the upper layer of the road body on a previously paved road without the need for notification or permission. However, this applies provided that the site where it is reused does not risk being adversely affected.
When do you need to notify or seek permission
If asphalt is planned to be used in a way other than in an asphalt plant or in the upper layer of a road body, a notification must be submitted to Västra Gästrikland's community development administration to assess the risk. This applies regardless of the content of coal tar. At higher levels than 70 mg/kg 16-PAH, you always need to submit a notification or apply for a permit according to the same procedure as with other masses.
Västra Gästriklands samhällsbyggnadsförvaltning is responsible for environmental supervision on farms. This means controls and assessments of agricultural activities that aim to ensure compliance with the rules of the Environmental Code and thus limit negative impact on the environment.
Examples of what can be inspected:
- Animal species, animal units
- Manure handling, storage and spreading
- Volume and location of tanks
- Pesticides, handling, storage and application
- Storage and handling of other chemical products
- Waste management
- Workshop activities
- Refrigerant installations
Larger farms are charged an annual fee. Smaller farms are charged an hourly fee for visits. Charging is done according to the tariff established by the municipal council.
Requirements for notification or authorization
Farms with permanent animal husbandry of more than 100 animal units must be notified to the Västra Gästriklands samhällsbyggnadsförvaltning. For more than 400 animal units, a permit must be applied for from the County Administrative Board.
Storage of waste and hazardous waste
Interim storage of non-hazardous waste
If you are going to temporarily store waste other than hazardous waste and the total amount of waste at any one time is more than 10 tons, you will probably need to report this to Västra Gästriklands samhällsbyggnadsförvaltning or apply for a permit from the county administrative board. Excavation material is also regarded as waste when it is removed from the site where it was generated.
If you are going to store non-hazardous waste at a location other than where it was generated and the total amount is greater than 10 tons but no more than 10,000 tons at any one time, a notification must be made to Västra Gästriklands samhällsbyggnadsförvaltning. If the waste is to be used for building or construction purposes, a maximum of 30,000 tons may be stored at any one time. Waste may be stored for a maximum of one year before it is disposed of or for a maximum of three years before it is recycled or treated.
The red button below contains an e-service or form. It shows what should be included in the notification.
If you are going to temporarily store the waste at a location other than where it was generated and the total quantity exceeds 10,000 tons on any single occasion, you must apply for a permit from the County Administrative Board. If the waste is to be used for building or construction purposes, a permit is required when more than 30,000 tons are stored at any one time. Masses may be stored for a maximum of one year before being disposed of or for a maximum of three years before being recycled or treated.
No notification is required for temporary storage in the immediate vicinity of the shaft. For example, masses from the excavation of a district heating shaft that are placed to be used for backfilling. The landowner's permission for the placement is required. Remember to protect the site so that it is not used by unauthorized persons to dump masses; in the worst case, you may be responsible for investigating these masses if the person responsible cannot be found.
Storage of snow is often not subject to notification or authorization. However, contact Västra Gästriklands samhällsbyggnadsförvaltning before setting up a new site. When choosing a site for snow storage, consideration must be given to runoff conditions and the permeability of the soil. The ground beneath a snow storage facility should not allow meltwater to infiltrate uncontrollably before reaching groundwater or watercourses. The surface should be designed so that outgoing meltwater can be directed and controlled and, if necessary, treated. It is very likely that at least one oil separator will be needed.
Activities subject to notification and authorization are subject to self-monitoring requirements. In the case of intermediate storage of excavated material, much of the self-monitoring involves ensuring the content of the material received. In the case of snow storage, self-monitoring may instead concern the management of meltwater leaving the site.
Sorting and crushing
Dentistry is considered an environmentally hazardous activity. One reason for this is the handling of amalgam, which usually contains around 50% mercury, but also because of the handling of hazardous waste and chemicals.
The handling of amalgam often results in mercury ending up in the sewage system and remaining in the sewage pipes at dental clinics and in the wastewater to the treatment plants. In wastewater treatment plants, more than 95% of the mercury is retained in the sludge. Excessive levels of mercury and silver can mean that the sludge cannot be reused as a fertilizer on fields, for example. Mercury is one of the most dangerous heavy metals and a threat to both the environment and health. Mercury does not break down but is stored in soil, water and organisms.
To prevent harm to human health and the environment, your business must have what is known as self-monitoring. The requirement for self-monitoring means that you as an operator must have procedures in place to regularly:
- Check the activity and its impact on the environment.
- How you can reduce the impact on the environment.
An example of checking the environmental impact of the activity is sampling the mercury content of outgoing wastewater after the amalgam separator.
Amalgam separators shall be installed at all treatment chairs and at the sink or basin used for cleaning amalgam-contaminated equipment. The separator shall be emptied/replaced regularly according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Hazardous chemical products that can be replaced by less hazardous products must be replaced by these according to the product selection principle in Chapter 2, Section 4 of the Environmental Code (1998:808). Chemical products must be stored and handled so that there is no risk of spreading to the external environment/sewage.
Hazardous waste is waste that has properties that are dangerous to health and/or the environment. Keep in mind that there are special requirements regarding storage, transportation and record keeping for hazardous waste, more information about hazardous waste can be found on this page: Waste from companies and businesses.
- Examples of hazardous waste that may arise at a dental clinic:
- Extracted teeth with amalgam fillings.
- Solid residues and sludge from the treatment unit's sewage system.
- Sludge, rinse water, discarded suction hoses and pipes containing amalgam residues.
- infectious waste
- sharps waste
Mercury in sewage pipes
Mercury can be stored in sewage pipes. Very few dental clinics have zero mercury emissions. Even clinics that have had amalgam separators from the start may have significant amounts in their drains. The separators do not always function optimally, the installation may be inadequate or there may be a lack of maintenance and disinfection. This means that it can be assumed that there is mercury in all sewage pipes that have been connected to a dentist's chair or a sink.
Under the Environmental Code, both the current operator of a dental clinic and the former operator are responsible for sewage pipes that are contaminated with amalgam and mercury. The property owner may also have some responsibility for the mercury-contaminated sewage pipes in the building.
Notification of decontamination
When a dental practice is to be closed down or maintenance work is to be carried out, a notification must be made (for reference see section 28 of the Ordinance (1998:899) on Environmentally Hazardous Activities and Health Protection).
This applies, for example, to stem replacement or flushing of sewage pipes. A notification must be made to the Västra Gästriklands samhällsbyggnadsförvaltning at least six weeks before the measure takes place.
In the first instance, choose to replace the sewer pipes and in the second instance to flush the pipes. Even after flushing, mercury may remain in the pipes, especially if they are made of cast iron. Unless proven otherwise, discarded sewage pipes should be treated as hazardous waste. Sludge and flushing water should also be treated as hazardous waste. It is important to hire a company that has knowledge of decontamination and the right technique to flush mercury-contaminated sewer pipes. Otherwise, flushing can cause emissions to soil and water.
Failure to report a notifiable measure is an environmental crime under the Environmental Code and can lead to prosecution. This applies to measures that involve flushing, replacing or demolishing sewage pipes inside or outside the clinic.
Disposal of dredged material
If you are going to lay down a maximum of 1,000 tons of dredged material and where the risk of pollution is small (minor) - then a notification must be made to the Environment and Sustainability Unit at Västra Gästriklands samhällsbyggnadsförvaltning. You may also need to apply for a soil permit - contact the Construction Unit at the Västra Gästriklands samhällsbyggnadsförvaltning.
If more than 1,000 tons of dredged material is dumped or if there is a risk that the dredged material is contaminated, a permit is required from the County Administrative Board.
Placing the masses in the water is considered to be dumping of waste and requires a permit from the County Administrative Board.
Dredging often requires three approvals before you can start the operation:
- permit for water activities (County Administrative Board)
- dispensation from shoreline protection (Västra Gästriklands samhällsbyggnadsförvaltning) and
- notification of placement of dredged material (Västra Gästriklands samhällsbyggnadsförvaltning).
The placement must be done so that the masses are not eroded into the water at high water level, i.e. with a good margin above the highest water line and also protected from the impact of ice break-up. It is also important to reduce the risk of any pollution from the dredged material reaching adjacent land/watercourses. The installation should also be designed to blend in with the surroundings as far as possible and to preserve the natural shoreline.
Notification of the placement of dredged material must be made in good time. An hourly fee is charged for processing the notification in accordance with the applicable rate.
Inspections include an examination of how the business complies with environmental legislation.
Västra Gästriklands samhällsbyggnadsnämnd is responsible for carrying out inspections of all activities in the municipalities that are designated as C- and
It has also agreed with the county administrative board to carry out inspections of most B activities.
It is the county administrative board that has the supervisory responsibility for the A activities.
Supervision is carried out by the defence inspector for health and environment (in Swedish) External link, opens in new window..
If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact Västra Gästriklands samhällsbyggnadsförvaltning via Medborgarservice
026-24 00 00 or e-mail email@example.com
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