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.
What is a Landfill?
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.
Technology Basis of the Regulation
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.
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Development Document for Final Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Landfills Point Source Category (PDF)(541 pp, 2 MB,
Describes industry processes, pollutants generated, available control and treatment technologies, the technical basis for the final rule, and costs of the rule
- Environmental Assessment for Final Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Landfills Point Source Category (PDF)(68 pp, 151 K, January 2000, 821-B-99-006)
- Economic Analysis of Final Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Landfills Point Source Category (PDF)(72 pp, 336 K, November 1999, 821-B-99-005)