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EPA proposes extended deadline for landfill compliance, seeks city comments.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released details of a proposed extension of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle D deadlines for compliance with federal standards and financial assurance requirements last week.

If finalized as proposed, EPA estimates 75 percent of all landfills accepting 15 percent of all municipal solid waste will be affected.

The agency is actively seeking comments from all affected jurisdictions in order to maintain the scope of the proposed extension. Particularly contentions, the agency maintains, is the size facility (100 tons per day) that would be eligible for an extension.

Facility Criteria

For municipal solid waste disposal facilities located in states that have, or will have submitted state plans (see below for states that have not yet submitted plans) to EPA by October 9, 1993, the landfill criteria will be postponed for six months through April 9, 1994. This extension is proposed to apply only to facilities that are not on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) and that accept less than 100 tons of non-hazardons commercial, residential and industrial waste per day.

While Bruce Weddle, director of EPA's Municipal, and Industrial Solid Waste Division, indicated EPA would not establish reporting requirements to determine daily tonnage, for facilities that receive close to the 100 tpd cap, some system would have to be determined to assure the facility did not exceed the maximum mount to remain qualified for the exemption. Cities are encouraged to suggest how tiffs can be done.

The extension would apply only to existing facilities and lateral expansion, i.e. expansions abutting an existing facility or cell.


For disposal facilities that plan to close, EPA is proposing to extend the deadline for completion of final cover to October 9, 1994. Closing facilities must cease accepting waste on October 9, 1993 and will then have one year to complete final cover on the facility. This proposal is intended to address the concerns of municipalities in the northern states who are unable to close facilities in accordance with federal requirements during the winter months. The amended closing date, however, will apply nationwide.

Financial Assurance

Requirements to demonstrate financial assurance, that is, the ability to finance clean-up of any environmental problems resulting from a landfill after it has closed, will be postponed to April 9, 1995. Since the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) rejected EPA's proposed financial assurance test, EPA believes it needs the extra time to develop and re-promulgate a new regulation. EPA also recognizes that municipal governments need adequate time to develop financial assurance plans after the requirements are finalized.

Small Landfills In Remote and Add Areas

In response to a recent court decision (Natural Resources Defense Council v. EPA), EPA is also proposing to modify groundwater monitoring requirements for landfills in arid and remote areas.

Since the Court did not overturn the design criteria for small facilities in remote or arid regions they will continue to be exempt from the subtitle D requirements if they:

* accept less than 20 tons of municipal solid waste per day;

* exhibit no evidence of groundwater contamination; and--"serve a community that experiences annual interruption of at least three consecutive months in surface transportation, or--[are] located in an area that annually receives 25inches or less of precipitation." EPA estimates 500-600 facilities meet these criteria.

Because of the Court decision, EPA is proposing two changes in the rules affecting small remote and arid facilities: deletion of the current exemption for groundwater monitoring and an extension of the landfill criteria to October 9, 1995 for landfills that qualified for the exemption.

EPA is particularly seeking recommendations from these small communities about alternative groundwater monitoring strategies that will meet the court and statutory requirements.

States that have not yet submitted plans to EPA are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona,(*) Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois,(**) Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mary]and, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont Washington, and West Virginia.

(*) Arizona currently does not expect to have a plan submitted by October.

(**) Illinois is currently considering not submitting a plan at all.
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Title Annotation:Environmental Protection Agency
Author:Kocheisen, Carol
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Jul 5, 1993
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