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EPA's Region 6 Office

Serving: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and 66 Tribal Nations

Overview of the Solid Waste
Indian Program

Welcome to the EPA web site for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Management in Indian Country! Region 6 provides information to help address many MSW management needs. Federal laws and regulations governing Solid Waste Management (SWM) apply in Indian Country. The primary federal Solid Waste law is the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). It specifies that SWM facilities must meet certain criteria to be considered sanitary Municipal Solid Waste Landfills (MSWLF) rather than open dumps. RCRA bans open dumps, and any existing facility that did not meet these criteria for a MSWLF was required to close by October 9, 1997. New facilities must comply with applicable MSWLF criteria. The following documents will help you understand these criteria and how they apply in Indian Country. If you want to clean up an old dump site, open a new landfill, start an integrated solid waste management program, or find funding for these and other activities, we think you'll find this a useful resource. This web site will help you stay on top of developments in MSW management.

If you own or operate a MSWLF in Indian Country, you will need to be familiar with the federal regulations governing MSW disposal. These regulations specify safe design and management practices that control releases into ground water, location and operating procedures that protect human health, as well as closure procedures, including long-term monitoring of landfill conditions that will protect future generations. Given the complexity of the regulations, the EPA established different effective dates for various types of MSWLFs. With the different federal requirements affecting MSW disposal and the various effective dates, it's not surprising that some confusion exists about when and how tribes should be in compliance with the various regulations. The purpose of this web page is to:

    (1) clarify the effective dates for EPA's MSWLF rules and

    (2) explain how you can realistically meet these deadlines and protect public health and the environment in your community. We hope this home page will encourage the exchange of tribal knowledge about integrated solid waste management and will help all of us to work together to protect human health and to safeguard and improve the natural environment in Indian Country.

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