SWANA Seeks EPA Guidance for Long-Term Care of Landfills

Date: August 22, 2011

Source: News Room

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), having recently published a report on the topic, is calling on EPA to develop a national policy on how to manage closed municipal solid waste landfills past the 30-year post-closure care (PCC) period mandated by the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA). In its report and in presentations, SWANA cites studies that show environmental risks remain long after the PCC period and consequently, some states are beginning to develop their own approaches to the issue.

The concern is that states lack a consistent and scientifically grounded approach to address the issue. Some environmental groups, who argue that landfill liners and covers are bound to fail, would like to see PCC regulated indefinitely. Alternatively, private landfill owners and some in industry calling for state oversight over landfills to end after PCC. Components of subtitle D landfills include bottom liners, leachate collection and removal systems, landfill gas collection and control systems, stormwater management systems and final covers. The worry is that waste retains a latent ability to generate leachate and gas, which could lead to release, should water be introduced into the landfill.

SWANA, which has not developed a proposal for how long-term care should be managed, is raising the issue to state and federal regulators, including discussing the long-term care of subtitle D landfills on Aug. 11 at an Association of State & Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) conference. Its presentation outlines three long-term risk scenarios: a functional final cover system, minor breaches to the final cover system and major breaches or deterioration of that system. The conclusion is that “the threat of leakage can be mitigated through long-term cap maintenance to minimize the migration of liquid into the landfill,” according to presentation slides.

See also: “SWANA Releases Latest Report on Long-Term Risks of Landfills,” (www.wastebusinessjournal.com/news/wbj20110621G.htm).

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