Landfills Effluent Guidelines
EPA promulgated the Landfills Effluent Guidelines and Standards in 2000. The regulation (40 CFR Part 445) covers discharges of landfill wastewater to surface waters. The regulatory requirements are incorporated into NPDES permits.
On this page:
- What is a Landfill?
- Facilities Covered
- Technology Basis of the Regulation
- Industry Study
- Rulemaking History
- Additional Information
A landfill is an area of land or an excavation in which wastes are placed for permanent disposal. RCRA regulations require landfill operators to collect the leachate produced by the landfill. Landfill operators collect the wastewater and discharge it to surface waters or POTWs.
Landfills discharging directly to surface waters are subject to the Effluent Guidelines regulation.
The regulation generally does not apply to captive landfills located at industrial facilities (e.g., organic chemical manufacturing plants, pulp and paper mills, or petroleum refineries) since wastewater produced from many of these facilities is already regulated by an effluent guideline or pretreatment standard for that industry.
For non-hazardous landfills, the wastewater treatment technologies that EPA used as the basis for the effluent limitations included equalization, activated sludge biological treatment, and multimedia filtration. For hazardous waste landfills, the wastewater treatment technologies included equalization, chemical precipitation, activated sludge biological treatment, and multimedia filtration. Landfill operators may choose the technologies best suited for their sites so long as the wastewater discharged from their facilities meet the effluent limits set by the regulation.
announced in Preliminary Effluent Guidelines Program Plan 15 (September 2021), EPA is conducting a detailed study of landfill wastewater discharges, including obtaining the following data:
- Current size and scope of the landfills industry that generates and collects landfill wastewater
- Analytical data for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) discharges from landfills nationwide, particularly direct discharge data on PFAS concentrations other than perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS)
- Profile of indirect discharging landfills, including the amount of wastewater they discharge and their impact on POTW influent and effluent PFAS concentrations
- Current wastewater control practices and treatment technologies in place at landfills and whether there are landfills currently implementing PFAS treatment for leachate.
- Final Rule - Federal Register notice (January 19, 2000)
- Development Document for Final Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Landfills Point Source Category (pdf) (821-R-99-019; January 2000)
- Environmental Assessment for Final Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Landfills Point Source Category (pdf) (821-B-99-006; January 2000)
- Economic Analysis of Final Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Landfills Point Source Category (pdf) (821-B-99-005; November 1999)
- Proposed Rule - Federal Register notice (February 6, 1998)
For additional information regarding Landfills Effluent Guidelines, please contact Meghan Hessenauer (email@example.com) or 202-566-1040.