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MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

 

Q. 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?

A. 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.

District of Columbia Department of Public Works
Phone: (202) 727-1000

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
Phone: (302) 739-3689

Maryland Department of the Environment
Phone: (410) 537-3000

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Environmental and Bonding Section
Phone: (717) 787-7381

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
Phone: (804) 698-4000

West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection
Solid Waste Section
Phone: (304) 558-6350


Q. HOW CAN I DISPOSE OF HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS
WASTE?

A. Please see the Household Hazardous Waste page on this site.

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Q. DO YOU HAVE EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS FOR
CHILDREN ON RECYCLING?

A. Yes, visit the Recycle City Web site for children or the Office
of Solid Waste Kids' Page. If you are a teacher find out about Teacher
Resources and Tools.


Q. WHERE CAN I RECYCLE?

A. Check out Earth's 911 Web site or call 1-800-CLEANUP
(1-800-253-2687) for geographically specific recycling information.

Contact your county recycling coordinator for additional information about
recycling programs.

Maryland's County Recycling Coordinators
http://www.mdrecycles.org/local.asp Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer

Pennsylvania's County recycling coordinator http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/airwaste/wm/RECYCLE/document/county.htm

Virginia's list of Recycling Coordinators
http://www.deq.virginia.gov/recycle/contactlist.html

West Virginia's Recycling coordinators
http://www.state.wv.us/swmb/

Delaware recycling information
http://www.dswa.com/

District of Columbia recycling information
http://dpw.dc.gov/services/recycle/recycling_services.shtml

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Q. WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT SOLID WASTE?

A. Go to EPA Municipal Solid Waste Site at http://www.epa.gov/wastes/nonhaz/municipal/


Q. IS FINANCIAL ASSURANCE REQUIRED FOR ALL
LANDFILLS?

A. Yes, federal, minimum requirements for financial assurance at municipal
solid waste landfills are codified in 40 CFR 258.70 - 258.75 (Subpart G).
See the Financial Assurance Mechanisms for Corporate Owners and
Operators of Municipal Solid Waste Landfill Facilities web page for more
information.


Q. CAN OLD LANDFILLS BE USED FOR OTHER THINGS?

A. 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.

District of Columbia Department of Public Works
phone: 202-645-0751

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
phone: (302) 739-3689

Maryland Department of the Environment
phone: (410) 537-3000

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
phone: (717)787-7381

Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
phone: (804)698-4146

West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection
phone: 304-558-6350

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Q. WHAT IS A TRANSFER STATION?

A. 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.


Q. ARE THERE REGULATIONS FOR CONSTRUCTION AND
OPERATION OF A TRANSFER STATION?

A. 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 does
not currently issue permits for the operation of transfer stations, but does
impose minimum operating standards (e.g., no blowing litter, no discharges
of hazardous substances to subsurface soils, and groundwater, control
vector and fire hazards). Transfer stations that have daily throughput of
greater than 180 cubic yards are required to self-certify with the state;
smaller transfer stations must notify the state and operate in accordance
with best management practices. Arizona is intending to propose a waste
transfer station rule with greater design and operational requirements
shortly.


Q. WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH DEAD ANIMAL CARCASSES?

A. 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.


Q. SHOULD I BE WORRIED ABOUT CONTAMINATION FROM
THE LANDFILL SEEPING INTO MY DRINKING WATER?

A. 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.

District of Columbia Department of Public Works
phone: 202-645-0751

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
phone: (302) 739-3689

Maryland Department of the Environment
phone: (410) 537-3000

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
phone: (717)787-7381

Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
phone: (804)698-4146

West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection
phone: 304-558-6350

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Q. IS LEACHATE RECIRCULATION ALLOWED AT MUNICIPAL
SOLID WASTE LANDFILLS?

A.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.


Q. CAN MEDICAL WASTE BE PUT INTO A LANDFILL? ARE
THERE REGULATIONS FOR THE DISPOSAL OF MEDICAL
WASTE?

A. 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.

District of Columbia Department of Public Works
phone: 202-645-0751

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
phone: (302) 739-3689

Maryland Department of the Environment
phone: (410) 537-3000

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
phone: (717)787-7381

Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
phone: (804)698-4146

West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection
phone: 304-558-6350

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Region 3 The Mid-Atlantic States


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