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Landfill Owners, Operators Granted Financial Assurance Extension

Washington, D.C. - A final Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruling gives owners and operators of municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills two more years to comply with a financial assurance mechanism for closure, post-closure and corrective action costs. Owners and operators now have until April 9, 1997.

Financial assurance can be demonstrated through a number of mechanisms such as trust funds, surety bonds and letters of credit. Currently, EPA is evaluating methods, including a local government financial test and a corporate financial test. The final rules on these alternative methods are expected to be promulgated in late 1995 and early 1996.

Previously, landfills were expected to comply by April 9, 1995. However, the delay allows owners and operators to consider using alternative financial assurance methods. The lead time also enables state governments to revise related laws or regulations.

In addition, the delay rule is expected to decrease the cost of financial assurance to the regulated community, according to Michael Shapiro, director of the EPA Office of Solid Waste. Some owners and operators have had difficulty complying with the previous date because no alternative mechanisms were available, Shapiro said. Now, owners and operators who use the local government or corporate financial tests won't have to pay for a third party to help them meet the compliance date.