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Waste Disposal

Landfill Overview Industrial Waste
Related Topics
State Landfill Permit, Inspection and Enforcement Programs Medical Wastes
Federal Regulations for Land Disposal Facilities Full Cost Accounting (FCA)
Landfill Methane Outreach Program Scrap Tires
Bioreactor Landfills Collection Efficiency
Combustion and Incineration Federal Resources
  Other Resources

Landfill Overview

EPA regulations established under RCRA Subtitle D govern the design and operation of disposal facilities. Each state must submit an application to EPA in order to receive approval for its program. EPA assesses whether a state’s program is sufficient to ensure each landfill’s compliance with federal requirements. States may impose requirements that are more stringent than the federal requirements. The EPA Region 7 States of Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri all have approved programs.

EPA's technical design and operating criteria (regulations) for landfills include specific requirements for location, operation, design (liner, leachate collection, run off controls, etc.), groundwater monitoring, corrective action in the event of an environmental release, closing the landfill, post-closure care, and bonds, insurance or other mechanisms to assure financial responsibility. The primary regulations are found in 40 CFR Part 257 and Part 258 of the Code of Federal Regulations. EPA has also issued regulations under the Clean Air Act that apply to emissions from very large landfills, and certain EPA criteria issued under the Clean Water Act may apply.

State Landfill Permit, Inspection and Enforcement Programs

Contact the appropriate State agency for information on State regulations and State permits, inspection and enforcement programs for landfills and other solid waste facilities.

General Information and Regulations Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
List of Landfills and other permitted facilities Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
Telephone: (877)253-2603
E-mail: brian.tormey@dnr.state.ia.us

Federal  Landfills Standards

Location restrictions ensure that landfills are built in suitable geological areas away from faults, wetlands, flood plains, or other restricted areas.
Liners are geomembrane or plastic sheets reinforced with two feet of clay on the bottom and sides of landfills.
Operating practices such as compacting and covering waste frequently with several inches of soil help reduce odor; control litter, insects, and rodents; and protect public health.
Groundwater monitoring requires testing groundwater wells to determine whether waste materials have escaped from the landfill.
Closure and postclosure care include covering landfills and providing long-term care of closed landfills.
Corrective action controls and cleans up landfill releases and achieves groundwater protection standards.
Financial assurance provides funding for environmental protection during and after landfill closure (i.e., closure and postclosure care).

List of Landfills and other permitted facilities Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
Telephone: 1-800- 282-9790
E-Mail: ddegner@kdhe.state.ks.us

General information and regulations Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
List of landfills and other permitted facilities Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
Telephone: 1-800-361-4827/(573)751-5401
E-mail: swmp@mail.dnr.state.mo.us

Integrated Waste Management Program and Integrated Waste Planning and Aid Programs Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
List of Permitted Facilities Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
Telephone: (402)471-2186
E-mail: MoreInfo@NDEQ.state.NE.US

All other States
Links to State Solid Waste Agency Sites Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer

Federal Regulations for Land Disposal Facilities

Municipal Solid Waste Landfills: 40 CFR Part 258 - Criteria for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills (MSWLFs), Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
The 1984 Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments to RCRA led to the promulgation of minimum standards for locating, designing, operating, and closing a municipal solid waste landfill. Regulations were also issued under the Clean Air Act to control non-methane organic air emissions from municipal solid waste landfills.

Facilities that accept Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator Waste (CESQG): 40 CFR Part 257 Subpart B (257.5), Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
Disposal standard for the receipt of conditionally exempt small quantity generator (CESQG) wastes at non-municipal, nonhazardous waste disposal units.

Businesses that produce small amounts of hazardous waste, known as conditionally exempt small quantity generators, may dispose of their waste in solid waste disposal facilities. Part 257, Subpart B criteria contain standards for non-municipal land disposal units that accept this waste (municipal landfills that accept this waste must meet 40 CFR Part 258 requirements described above). These criteria address location restrictions, requirements for monitoring of groundwater, and corrective action provisions to clean up any contamination.

All other solid waste land disposal facilities:
40 CFR Part 257 Subpart A (P257.1)
, Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer

These general performance standards were issued in 1979 prior to the more comprehensive requirements described above. These standards apply to waste piles, surface impoundments, and industrial nonhazardous waste landfills. These criteria establish standards for determining whether these solid waste facilities are protective of human health and the environment. Facilities that fail to meet these standards are classified as "open dumps.” The criteria provide the basis for enforcing the prohibition on "open dumps" and may be used by citizen bringing suits in federal court.

Air Emission Regulations: Rule and Implementation Information for Standards of Performance for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills

Bioreactor Landfills

A bioreactor landfill operates to rapidly transform and degrade organic waste. The increase in waste degradation and stabilization is accomplished through the addition of liquid and air to enhance microbial processes. This bioreactor concept differs from the traditional “dry tomb” municipal landfill approach.

EPA and its state and industry partners are studying and conducting research and demonstrations on bioreactor landfills and other landfills, such as those that re-circulate leachate. EPA hopes to learn more about the possible effects of bioreactor operations and the costs that may be associated with them.

The EPA Bioreactors website provides additional information.

Combustion and Incineration

To reduce waste volume, local governments or private operators can implement a controlled burning process called combustion or incineration. In addition to minimizing volume, combustors, when properly equipped, can convert water into steam to fuel heating systems or generate electricity.

More on Combustion and Incineration
Federal Regulations for Combustion and Incineration 40 CFR Part 60 Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer

Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP)

This voluntary assistance and partnership program, promotes the use of landfill gas as a renewable energy source. By preventing emissions of methane—a powerful greenhouse gas—through the development of landfill gas energy projects, LMOP helps businesses, states, and communities protect the environment and build a sustainable future.

Industrial Waste

Each year, industrial facilities generate and manage 7.6 billion tons of nonhazardous industrial waste in land disposal units. Generated by a broad spectrum of U.S. industries, industrial waste is waste associated with the manufacturing process. This waste usually is not classified as either municipal waste or hazardous waste by federal or state laws. Although state, tribal, and some local governments have regulatory responsibility for ensuring proper management of industrial waste, their regulatory programs vary widely.

Guide to Industrial Waste Management
EPA collaborated with states, industry, and environmental groups to provide voluntary guidance to define a baseline for managing industrial waste. The Guide for Industrial Waste Management is designed to complement existing regulatory programs and provide decision-makers with an effective management tool.

In 1998 EPA provided a grant to the Nebraska Materials Exchange Exit EPA Click for Disclaimerto enhance its formerly passive program with an active full time staff. This resulted in a 473% increase in listings, and a 653% increase in participants and a 3.9 million-pound increase in materials diverted from landfills. Companies providing materials saved over $170,000 in solid and hazardous waste disposal fees and companies obtaining materials saved and estimated $638,000 compared to new product purchases.

More on Materials Exchanges - By-Product Synergy

EPA is also participating in an Industrial Synergies Project led by the Mid America Regional Council Solid Waste District. By-Product Synergy is defined as a process of cultivating partnerships between industries to turn one company’s by-products into another company’s raw material or feedstock. The purpose of the initiative is to determine how industries, businesses, governments and non-governmental organizations can work together to form successful partnerships to reduce the amount of industrial waste byproducts disposed in landfills. The goals of the project are to expand local waste reduction, reuse, and recycling efforts in the Kansas City metropolitan area and create new market development opportunities for industrial byproducts. The initial phase of the project will, 1) determine the feasibility of a regional byproduct synergy (BPS) initiative targeting area industries. 2) if determined to be feasible, design a plan of action.

More on Industrial Waste Management,

Medical Wastes

EPA does not have any specific or unique regulations on disposal of medical wastes at landfills. EPA has regulations governing emissions from Hospital/Medical/Infectious Waste Incinerators as well as requirements under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) for medical waste treatment technologies which use chemicals for treating the waste.

Other Federal Agencies regulate different aspects of Medical Waste Management:

Department of Transportation Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
Regulates Medical Waste transportation
Food and Drug Administration Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
Regulates medical devices such as sharps containers which are designed to safely contain used needles
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
Regulates some types of radioactive medical waste
Occupational Safety & Health Administration Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
Regulates Medical Waste in the workplace
U.S. Postal Service Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
Regulates Medical Waste in the postal system

Full Cost Accounting (FCA)

EPA has developed materials on an accounting practice that can help local governments identify, assess, and manage the actual costs of MSW programs. FCA can help make informed decisions about MSW operations, facilitate cost-saving efforts, and better plan for the future. The Full Cost Accounting website, contains publications, contacts and links, and questions and answers on FCA.

Scrap Tires

There are at least 300 million scrap tires in stockpiles in the U.S. In addition, approximately 281 million scrap tires were generated in 2001.Markets now exist for nearly 78 percent of scrap tires-up from 17 percent in 1990.. However, scrap tires without markets are still stockpiled or landfilled. The states have played a major role in tackling this problem by restricting land disposal of tires; regulating the hauling, processing, and storage of scrap tires; setting up recycling programs; and assisting with market development for scrap tires. More information on Scrap Tires

Collection Efficiency

Collection efficiency means getting more for less - picking up more solid waste or recyclables using fewer trucks or fewer people or less time. Dozens of local governments and haulers across the continent have demonstrated that residential solid waste collection cost-cutting strategies work. The Collection Efficiency website includes strategies that can have dramatic impacts on the cost-effectiveness and quality of service delivery.

Federal Resources

Landfill Publications
The following types of materials are available: regulatory guide for landfill owners, financial assurance for landfills, landfill technical manual, ground water monitoring, no-migration demonstrations, research and development, landfill reclamation and a national landfill list.

Municipal Solid Waste Landfill Listserv
The purpose of this group is to facilitate discussion among State regulatory agency staff regarding landfill disposal and related solid waste issues. Membership is restricted to United States Federal and State staff with responsibilities in these areas. Please use your official State or Federal E-Mail address when requesting membership and send your request to Flora.David@epa.gov or Giuranna.Mike@epa.gov or Mooney.Susan@epa.gov.

Other Resources

SWANA, Exit EPA Click for DisclaimerThrough its eight Technical Divisions, SWANA addresses the specialized needs of its members. These volunteer-based groups serve as the heart of SWANA’s RD&D programs. The eight SWANA Technical Divisions are: Collection & Transfer; Communication, Education & Marketing; Landfill Gas Management: Landfill Management; Planning & Management; Special Waste Management; Waste Reduction, Recycling & Composting and Waste-to-Energy.

The Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials, (ASTSWMO) Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer is an organization supporting the environmental agencies of the States and trust territories. ASTSWMO focuses on the needs of State hazardous waste programs; a nonhazardous municipal solid waste and industrial waste program; recycling, waste minimization, and reduction programs; Superfund and State cleanups program; waste management and cleanup activities at a federal facilities, and underground storage tank and leaking underground storage tank programs.

The Air & Waste Management Association,
(A&WMA) Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer is a nonprofit professional organization that provides training, information, and networking opportunities to environmental professionals. The Association’s goals are to strengthen the environmental profession, expand scientific and technological responses to environmental concerns, and assist professionals in critical environmental decision making to benefit society.

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