Pacific Southwest, Region 9
Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations
Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I get funding for my solid waste projects?
- There is this landfill a block away from me that is not following the regulations; it stinks and there is always dust and noise. What can I do about it?
- How can I dispose of household hazardous waste?
- Do you have educational materials for children on recycling?
- Where can I recycle?
- What should I know about solid waste?
- Is financial assurance required for all landfills?
- Can old landfills be used for other things?
- What is a transfer station?
- Are there regulations for construction and operation of a transfer station?
- What should I do with dead animal carcasses?
- Should I be worried about contamination from the landfill seeping into my drinking water?
- Is leachate recirculation allowed at municipal solid waste landfills?
- Can medical waste be put into a landfill? Are there regulations for the disposal of medical waste?
How can I get funding for my solid waste projects?
Please see the Solid Waste Grant information Web page.
There is this landfill a block away from me that is not following the regulations; it stinks and there is always dust and noise. What can I do about it?
RCRA Subtitle D focuses on state and local governments as the primary planning, regulating, and implementing entities for the management of nonhazardous solid waste, such as household garbage and nonhazardous industrial solid waste. EPA provides these state and local agencies with information, guidance, policy and regulations through workshops and publications. Contact your state or local government if a solid waste facility is not complying with federal or state regulations.
How can I dispose of household hazardous waste?
Please see the Household Hazardous Waste page.
Do you have educational materials for children on recycling?
Where can I recycle?
Check out Earth's 911 Web site or call (800)-CLEANUP ((800)-253-2687) for geographically specific recycling information
Contact your state or county for additional information about recycling programs.
California Recycle Waste Reduction
What should I know about solid waste?
Please see EPA's National Solid Waste Site.
Is financial assurance required for all landfills?
Yes, federal, minimum requirements for financial assurance at municipal solid waste landfills are codified in 40 CFR 258.70 - 258.75 (Subpart G). See Table.
258.70 Applicability And Effective Date 258.71 Financial Assuruance For Closure 258.72 Financial Assurance For Post Closure Care 258.73 Financial Assurance For Corrective Action 258.74 Allowable Mechanisms 258.75 Discounting
States with approved permitting programs have flexibility in implementing their financial assurance program as long as it meets the basic federal requirements. Contact your state for information about its financial assurance program.
Can old landfills be used for other things?
Yes, old landfills can safely be converted to other uses, with proper precautions. EPA and the State agencies have developed landfill regulations to protect the environment. Landfills have the potential to pollute our surface and groundwater resources. The regulations safeguard against this type of contamination by requiring that landfill owners and operators comply with closure and post-closure care requirements. In addition, it's important to consider for what purpose of a former landfill site will be used. Sites intended for home construction or playgrounds need to be held to higher standards than sites developed for commercial or industrial development. Because the public is often concerned about landfill sites, EPA recommends that local decision-makers seek the advice and assistance of the state to address the safe use of former landfill sites.
For more detail on the closure and post-closure requirements, please contact the appropriate State agency.
What is a transfer station?
A transfer station is a facility designed to allow the transfer of materials from the vehicles in which they are collected, or originally transported by the generator, to larger vehicles for transport to their final destination. These materials can be solid wastes, recyclables or compostable materials.
Are there regulations for construction and operation of a transfer station?
While there is an emerging national discussion on the need for regulating waste transfer stations, no federal requirements currently exist. Some states have taken the lead to develop their own regulations.
Arizona has minimum operating standards for transfer stations. You may request a copy by contacting:
California requires State permits for the design and operation of municipal solid waste landfill transfer stations. California's current rules for transfer stations and potential changes are provided on the California Integrated Waste Management Board's Web site.
For more information contact:
Hawaii has minimum operating standards for transfer stations. You may request a copy of the regulations by contacting:
Nevada adopted standards for design and operation of transfer stations in 1998. You may request a copy contacting:
What should I do with dead animal carcasses?
Contact your state or local public health departments for information on how to properly dispose of animal carcasses. For small animals the humane society may also have programs. Other possibilities include contacting a local veterinarian or the landfill operator directly.
Should I be worried about contamination from the landfill seeping into my drinking water?
The EPA realizes that landfill contamination could seep into our drinking water -- and by Congress' direction in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) -- EPA has developed and implemented regulations to prevent this type of contamination. Congress recognized in section 1002(b) of RCRA that "open dumping is particularly harmful to health... [Because it] may contaminate drinking water from underground and surface supplies." Section 1008 directs EPA to publish guidelines for solid waste management, including criteria that define practices that are not protective of the environment and human health.
The regulations in 40 CFR part 258 define "open dumping" and set minimum federal criteria for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills, which include, but are not limited to, protective barriers, ground water monitoring and corrective action requirements. The EPA reasonably expects that landfills designed and operated to meet these requirements will not contribute harm to human health or the environment, including impact to our drinking water supply.
If you do have concerns about a particular landfill, please contact the appropriate state agency noted here.
Is leachate recirculation allowed at municipal solid waste landfills?
Yes, under certain conditions. At present, the federal regulations allow leachate recirculation only at those Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) landfills which are designed and operated with the composite liner proscribed by 40 CFR part 258.40. Leachate recirculation is not allowed for MSW landfills with alternative liner systems in place, even in states that generally have the regulatory flexibility that comes with EPA program approval. In the future, EPA may revise the federal regulations to allow leachate recirculation at landfills with alternative liner systems.
The issue of leachate recirculation has been prompted in part by larger emerging discussion on the management of landfills as "bioreactors." A bioreactor landfill would use microbiological processes to accelerate waste decomposition; this type of landfill could also result in improved leachate quality and make waste-to-energy gas recovery at landfills more economical. In addition, bioreactors could reduce the potential long term impacts of the "dry tomb" by essentially processing most of the waste present, leaving a residue similar to compost, except of course, bottles, cans and plastics.
For more information on bioreactor landfill projects, please contact Steve Wall at (415) 972-3380.
Are there regulations for the disposal of medical waste?
There are no specific federal regulations for landfilling medical waste. It is, however, regulated federally as a solid waste. Medical waste incineration is regulated under the Clean Air Act. Most state and local governments have enacted more stringent regulations for handling and landfilling medical wastes. Contact your state for additional information.
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