Hydropress Environmental Service, Inc., v. Twp. of Upper Mt. Bethel, 836 A.2d 912 (Pa. Nov. 25, 2003):

Case Details:

In a plurality opinion, three Justices of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court concluded that although the Solid Waste Management Act (SWMA) does not preempt municipalities from regulating the land application of waste material such as biosolids, septage or sewage, however, a municipality lacks the power to enact certain provisions that charge road users for road improvements and required those that beneficially use waste to obtain a permit.

The Justices agreeing with the lead opinion concluded that the SWMA contained no express preemptive mandate from the legislature, and declared that the language used in the statute is of “intergovernmental coordination and cooperation, not of preemption.” Therefore, the Justices’ focus shifted from preemption to whether the township had the authority to enact the specific regulations. In the context of this issue, six Justices believed that a municipality exceeded the general police authority reserved to Townships of the Second Class.

It is important to note that three Justices dissented from the lead opinion on the preemption issue. These Justices believed that the SWMA did in fact preempt any local regulation of the land application of waste materials.

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