Contact Us


All News Releases By Date



Release Date: 09/18/2000
Contact Information: Carl Terry, (404) 562-8325,
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that a Project XL Final Project Agreement (FPA) has been signed for implementation of a new bioreactor landfill system at the Buncombe County Landfill in Western North Carolina. The FPA is a voluntary agreement developed collaboratively by Buncombe County, the North Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR), and EPA.

Project XL (eXcellence and Leadership) was created by President Clinton in 1995 as part of the Administration's efforts to reinvent environmental regulation through new, common-sense programs that eliminate burdensome red tape in exchange for better and more environmentally protective ideas from businesses, federal facilities, cities, and citizens themselves. It provides real world tests of these innovative strategies. The information and lessons learned from Project XL are being used to assist EPA in redesigning its current regulatory and policy-setting approaches. As of this month (September 2000), thirty pilot experiments are being implemented and more than twenty additional projects are in various stages of development.

The Buncombe County Solid Waste Management Facility is one of the ten largest publicly-owned municipal solid waste landfills in the State. It accepts approximately 100,000 tons of waste per year from the areas 200,000 residents, and about 150,000 tons of municipal solid waste per year, including construction and demolition wastes. Buncombe County is EPA's 35th Final Project Agreement. Through XL, the County proposes to implement a new bioreactor landfill system that involves construction of an alternative liner system and recirculating landfill leachate (liquid that results from water collecting contaminants as it trickles through wastes). These two actions will collectively decrease emissions of landfill gas, accelerate waste decomposition, improve leachate quality, and increase the waste capacity of the existing landfill cells. Buncombe County believes that the results from this project could encourage EPA to revise existing Federal hazardous waste regulations and allow or promote the use of alternative liner systems in municipal solid waste landfills using leachate recirculation.

Buncombe county seeks flexibility from current federal hazardous waste regulations to allow them to recirculate leachate over municipal solid waste landfill units constructed with an alternative liner system. Modeling shows that when different portions of the landfill are compared, the alternative liner offers fifty percent more protection to the underlying aquifer than the standard composite liner.

When implemented, the leachate recirculation/gas recovery landfill approach will provide superior environmental performance in a number of ways. They include: enhanced groundwater protection; early compliance with the Clean Air Act requirements for municipal solid waste landfills through installation of a gas collection and control system; additional waste capacity and longer life of existing landfill cells, reducing the need for new landfill sites; improved leachate quality and, ultimately, discharge water quality to the receiving stream.