LANDFILLS: EPA Proposes Subtitle D Delay For Small Landfills

On July 28, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a six-month extension for certain small landfills to comply with the agency's Subtitle D standards for landfill management. Under the proposal, some small landfills would have until April 9, 1994 - rather than October 9, 1993 - to meet the landfill criteria.

The agency listed its criteria for determining which small landfills meet the exemption requirements and defined small landfills as those receiving less than 100 tons per day of solid waste.

In addition, the EPA has proposed to extend the compliance date for two years, to October 9, 1995, for very small landfills that receive less than 20 tons per day of solid waste and are located in very arid or remote regions. The EPA had exempted these landfills from groundwater monitoring requirements, but as a result of a recent court ruling, they must now comply with the requirements and therefore need additional time to make alternative plans.

The EPA also has proposed a delay for all landfills to comply with financial assurance requirements - from April 9, 1994, to April 9, 1995 - and a delay for compliance with cover installation requirements to October 9, 1994.

Meanwhile, a Senate panel is considering what the delay will mean for private and public landfill operators across the United States. The Senate Superfund, Recycling and Solid Waste Management Sub-committee heard testimony on July 29 from the EPA, state environmental protection agencies, en-vironmental groups and the private sector on what the changes signify.

Many small local governments have sent the agency letters des-cribing their struggle to comply with the Subtitle D standards. Ac-cording to Richard Guimond, acting assistant administrator of the EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, "Local governments have requested a delay to give them additional time to secure financing needed to upgrade their landfills," Guimond said.

Daniel Weiss of the Sierra Club said that an extension of Subtitle D requirements was an acceptable compromise, as long as the extension does not go any longer than proposed. "We are aware that some parties want the EPA to grant an across-the-board extension of the Subtitle D landfill regulations, in-stead of the limited extension proposed. An across-the-board extension would be unacceptable be- cause it would seriously undermine the environmental and public health protections of the new regulations," Weiss remarked.

"There should be no extension beyond the six-month period suggested," said Dan Eden, who is with the Texas Water Commission and a member of the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO). "We acknowledge the difficulty and expense of implementing the rule for municipalities, but the federal regulation has to take effect in a reasonable time frame or the legitimacy of protective provisions comes into question."

He added, "Some of my state colleagues still believe we should adhere to the original effective date of October 9, 1993."