Regulatory Developments, Special Topics in Environmental Management

Revised Rules for Gas Emissions from MSW Landfills

The EPA has simultaneously issued new rules governing gas emissions from both existing and new, modified, or reconstructed municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills. Gas emitted by MSW landfills comprises methane, carbon dioxide (CO2), and nonmethane organic compounds (NMOCs). Both final rules define affected MSW landfills as those with design capacities of 2.5 million metric tons (MT) and 2.5 million cubic meters. These thresholds are unchanged from the existing 1996 standards. However, each rule lowers the threshold at which landfill operators will need to install and operate a gas collection control system (GCCS) from 50 MT of NMOCs a year to 34 MT of NMOCs a year. Once this threshold is reached, the operator has 30 months to install a GCCS.

Under both rules, the owner or operator of a landfill may comply with the GCCS requirement by routing the regulated gas to a nonenclosed flare, an enclosed combustion device, or a treatment system that processes the collected gas for subsequent sale or beneficial use.

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