GreenYes Digest V97 #109

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GreenYes Digest Thu, 15 May 97 Volume 97 : Issue 109

Today's Topics:
C&D Recycling program announcement
Subtitle D Landills

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Date: Wed, 14 May 1997 19:07:56 -0400
From: (Maurice Sampson II)
Subject: C&D Recycling program announcement

*BUILDING INDUSTRY RECYCLING: Closing the Loop on C&D Waste *
*Thursday, May 29, 1997 *
*Ninth Annual Maryland Recycling Conference, Training, and Exposition*
*The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab *
*Laurel, Maryland *

Mid-Atlantic Consortium of Recycling and Economic Development Officials
Maryland Recycling Coalition

USEPA Waste Wi$e/NRC

Registration: $50.00 for this event only, Contact: MRC Office, 410-974-4472

What are the opportunities for waste reduction and recycling in the
residential building industry? How about the purchase of used and
recycled-content building products? What are the job and economic
development implications in promoting building industry recycling in your
jurisdiction? This program is a must for anyone concerned with C&D waste,
and what to do about it. Do not miss this first time gathering of experts
who will discuss case studies and methods for waste reduction, recycling,
and reuse in the residential building industry.

During the morning session, experts will be organized in three panels to
provide an overview of the subject with emphasis on the opportunities,
issues, and barriers. The afternoon session will be a facilitated planning
session to outline a strategy to promote building industry recycling in the
Mid-Atlantic region. The participants will include the morning presenters
and community leaders, entrepreneurs, and public officials involved in solid
waste, recycling, reuse, and economic development.


------------------M O R N I N G S E S S I O N
10:00 - 10:20 OPENING/OVERVIEW

Evadne Giannini, Delaware Economic Development Office/MACREDO Chair
Maurice M. Sampson, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Consultant
Richard Keller, Maryland Environmental Service

Peter Yost, National Association of Home Builders Research Center
Kim Schaefer, Kim Schaefer Architects
William Sloan, NE Industrial Waste Exchange/Reuse Development Organization

11:00 - 11:10 BREAK

Robert Brickner, Gershman, Brickner, Bratton, Inc.
William Turley, Editor, C&D Debris Recycling
Robert A. Wessel, Gypsum Association

Ramsey Zimmerman, North Carolina Recycling Association
Resa Dimino, Big City Forest
Don Katzenberger, The Asphalt Roof Recycling Company, Inc

12:30 - 1:30 Lunch

----S T R A T E G Y P L A N N I N G S E S S I O N

Facilitator: Bill Burroughs, Burroughs Consulting
(MACREDO) is an organization of recycling and economic development agencies
representing the states of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West
Virginia, and the District of Columbia. We provide a focus for our member
jurisdictions to exchange information and to disseminate current regional
information to private and public entities.

Call(215) 686 9242 or e-mail:
Maurice Sampson II
Philadelphia Self-Reliant
1600 Arch Street, Room 246
Philadelphia, PA 19103
fax: 215-686-9245


Date: Wed, 14 May 97 21:27:03 PST
Subject: Subtitle D Landills

[Forwarded from Dr. G. Fred Lee. In my opinion, RCRA Subtitle D
landfills are aflawed technology, a subsidy charged to future
generations, and a major impediment to zero waste and a level
playing field for recycling. Dr. Lee's thoughts support a campaign
idea that has been gestating within GRRN lately, namely a No New Dumps
campaign -- a logical prerequisite for Zero Waste.If you
are interested in working on a coordinated effort to alert EPA to the
shortcomings of Subtitle D, please let me know of you interest: Cheers, Bill Sheehan]

G. Fred Lee & Associates
27298 E. El Macero Dr.
El Macero, California 95618-1005
Tel. (916) 753-9630 MW Fax (916) 753-9956

May 1, 1997

Dr. William Sheehan
Sierra Club National Waste Comm.
268 Janice Drive
Athens, GA 30606

Dear Bill:

Please find presented below a letter that I have developed to R. Dellinger,
the recently appointed Director of the Office of Solid Waste for the US EPA.
This letter discusses the significant deficiencies that exist with the way
in which the US EPA Subtitle D MSW landfilling regulations are being
implemented at the state level. Basically, most Subtitle D landfills will,
at best, only postpone when groundwater pollution occurs. The two
attachments referred to in the Dellinger letter, "Deficiencies in US EPA
Subtitle D Landfills in Protecting Groundwater Quality for as Long as MSW is
a Threat: Recommended Alternative Approaches," and "Questions that Regulatory
Agencies Staff, Boards and Landfill Applicants and their Consultants Should
Answer about a Proposed Subtitle D Landfill or Landfill Expansion," have been
previously sent to you. They are also available on our web site
( Also available at this site are
other papers and reports pertinent to understanding the significant
deficiencies that exist in Subtitle D landfills providing groundwater quality
protection for as long as the wastes represent a threat.

Please feel free to distribute this letter to others within your group,
indicating to them that any support they can provide in helping to convince
the US EPA that it needs to update its Subtitle D landfilling regulations
would be appreciated. I feel it is essential that environmental groups and
others concerned about groundwater quality protection and the three R's
contact the US EPA (Browner - Dellinger) about the need to update Subtitle D
regulations. Such efforts could be important in addressing the significant
problems that exist today in protecting future generations' groundwater
resources from pollution by MSW landfill leachate. If you or others have
questions or comments on this matter, please contact me.



G. Fred Lee

G. Fred Lee & Associates
27298 E. El Macero Dr.
El Macero, California 95618-1005
Tel. (916) 753-9630 MW Fax (916) 753-9956

April 30, 1997

R. Dellinger, Director
US EPA Office of Solid Waste
401 M Street
MC 5306W
Washington, DC 20460

Dear Mr. Dellinger:

I am contacting you in connection with the significant problems that exist
today with the way in which US EPA Subtitle D landfills are being developed.
Please find enclosed a preprint of a paper which discusses well known
deficiencies in Subtitle D regulations as they are being implemented at the
state level in protecting groundwaters from impaired use for as long as the
wastes in a Subtitle D "dry tomb" type landfill will be a threat. Wastes in
such landfills will obviously be a threat forever. Subtitle D landfill cover
and liner systems as currently being developed, which are judged to conform
to the regulations by federal and state regulatory agencies, obviously cannot
prevent leachate formation and leakage of leachate from the landfill into the
underlying groundwater system for as long as the wastes represent a threat.

It is not clear to me that the US EPA understood when it promulgated
Subtitle D landfilling regulations that the wastes in a Subtitle D "dry tomb"
landfill will be a threat forever. The inorganic salts, heavy metals and
many of the organics will not decay or be removed from the landfill under
normal "dry tomb" operations. They will be available in the waste to be
leached upon contact with moisture.

In the early 1990s the landfilling field was just beginning to more
generally understand the deficiencies of a single composite lined landfill.
Actually, these deficiencies have been recognized for some time by a number
of states, such as New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan. It was
understood that the plastic sheeting layer of the composite liner is the key
to protecting groundwaters since it is only a matter of a few years (on the
order of ten to fifteen) from the time when leachate passes through the
plastic sheeting layer until it penetrates through the clay layer under
design characteristics. It was recognized in the late 1980s by the US EPA
that the plastic sheeting layer in the composite liner has a finite period of
time during which the layer can be expected to function effectively in
collecting all of the leachate that will be produced in a Subtitle D

While the deficiencies in the liner system compared to the length of time
that the wastes will be a threat are beginning to be more widely understood
now, landfill applicants and regulatory agencies are asserting that the
landfill cover for a Subtitle D landfill will be protective. It is obvious,
however, since the key layer of the landfill cover (the flexible membrane
liner) cannot be inspected for points of deterioration or failure because it
is buried below one or more feet of topsoil and a drainage layer that the way
by which the failure of the landfill cover will likely be most reliably
detected is in off-site production wells owned by adjacent property owners.

A critical review of Subtitle D regulations shows that groundwater quality
protection depends heavily on the reliability of detecting regulated
constituents at the point of compliance for groundwater monitoring. In 1988,
the US EPA and the field was not aware of the unreliable nature of
groundwater monitoring of plastic sheeting lined landfills because of the
finger plumes of leachate generated by them as part of the initial leakage of
the composite liner through the landfill liner system. By 1992 the field was
beginning to understand well through the work of Dr. J. Cherry's 1990
publication and the 1991 ASTM conference on groundwater monitoring where
Cherry, Parsons and Davis, and others presented papers on these issues that
groundwater monitoring as typically practiced for the classical sanitary
landfills of a few groundwater monitoring wells spaced hundreds to a thousand
or more feet apart along the down gradient edge of the landfill had a low
probability of detecting leachate polluted groundwaters when they first reach
the point of compliance. While it is not clear whether the Agency staff
understood this problem when Subtitle D was promulgated, it is clear that
those controlling the final promulgation failed to inform the field of this
very significant problem with the Agency's approach in implementing Subtitle
D regulations for landfilling of municipal solid wastes.

If plastic sheeting lined landfills leaked like the classical unlined
sanitary landfills, across the whole bottom, then Subtitle D regulations
would be protective for regulated constituents, i.e. those which have
drinking water MCLs. These regulations, however, would still be defective
with respect to addressing the unregulated constituents where there could be
discovered, at some time in the future, constituents in municipal solid waste
leachate out of the thousands of chemicals that are present in leachate that
are not regulated in any way in today's regulatory approaches which are more
hazardous to public health and groundwater resources than the currently
regulated constituents. There are chemicals that are known to be more
hazardous than the regulated constituents by many orders of magnitude. To
assume as the Agency has done that there will be no new chemicals discovered
in municipal landfill leachate that would be transported in groundwater
systems is highly inappropriate and certainly contrary to prudent public
health practice and common sense.

There is growing agreement that there is need to change RCRA to eliminate
the ambiguity that exists now in post-closure care funding where landfill
owners are allowed to develop funding mechanisms that address only some of
the potential problems associated with 30 years after landfill closure.
Since the wastes in a Subtitle D "dry tomb" landfill will be a threat
forever, post-closure funding requirements should be based on consideration
of ad infinitum post-closure care including waste exhumation and
Superfund-like clean up of polluted groundwaters when, as expected, Subtitle
D landfills fail to prevent off-site groundwater pollution by landfill
leachate by regulated as well as unregulated constituents.

I have been involved in several landfill permitting hearings where the
landfill applicant and the regulatory agencys only plan post-closure care
funding for a maximum of 30 years on the premise that after that period there
would be no need for further care, monitoring, maintenance, etc. The US EPA
should immediately make it clear that the 30 year post-closure care period is
a small part of the period that funds will be needed at most Subtitle D

Another aspect of RCRA - Subtitle D that needs to be changed is the
recognition that there are a wide variety of conventional pollutants in
municipal landfill leachate that, while not hazardous, will destroy the use
of a groundwater for domestic water supply purposes through such problems as
taste and odors. Rather than focusing on hazardous chemical impacts, RCRA -
Subtitle D should focus on groundwater protection since this is the issue of
concern to the public with respect to pollution of groundwaters by MSW

As discussed in the enclosed paper, the fundamentally flawed nature of the
"dry tomb" landfilling approach is beginning to be better understood. Our
engineering and science systems will not be able to keep municipal solid
waste dry forever in a minimum Subtitle D type landfill. While there is
growing recognition that leachate recycle may help shorten the time that the
wastes are a threat with respect to landfill gas formation, leachate recycle
in a minimum Subtitle D landfill will likely, because of the increased
hydraulic load, lead to greater groundwater pollution earlier in the life of
the landfill than would be expected otherwise. Further, there are important
questions about how effective leachate recycle will actually be in shortening
the landfill gas formation time considering the fact that where much of
todays garbage will be hidden from the recyclable leachate by garbage bags.

As discussed in the enclosed paper, I support leachate recycle for shredded
municipal wastes in double composite lined landfills. Following the
cessation of gas production, the solid waste residues should be washed with
clean water to remove any leachable components. The wet cell
fermentation/leaching approaching that Dr. Jones-Lee and I described several
years ago will, if properly implemented, produce solid waste residues that
will be protective of groundwater resources since the components of the waste
that represent long-term threats will have been removed through fermentation
and leaching. While this approach is somewhat more expensive initially that
the minimum Subtitle D landfilling approach, it is far cheaper overall than
when the inevitable Superfund costs are considered. My estimates of the
additional initial costs is on the order of 10 center per person per day for
those who contribute wastes to a moderate to large sized landfill.

The US EPA should immediately indicate that the statement in the preamble of
the Subtitle D regulations that a single composite liner of the type allowed
in a minimum Subtitle D landfill will be protective even at poor sites does
not reflect the current degree of understanding of the threat of municipal
solid wastes to generate leachate and the ability of a minimum Subtitle D
landfill containment system to prevent leachate generation and to collect any
leachate that is generated for as long as the wastes represent a threat.
Further, this statement does not reflect the current understanding of the
reliability of typical Subtitle D groundwater monitoring systems where
monitoring wells are spaced hundreds of feet apart with each monitoring well
having a zone of capture (sampling) of about one foot in detecting Subtitle D
landfill liner failure before wide spread off-site groundwater pollution
occurs. Acknowledging the obvious unreliability of such a statement would be
a major step toward alerting regulatory agencies that minimum Subtitle D
landfills must be carefully sited in order to avoid eventually polluting high
value groundwaters with MSW leachate.

If you have questions or comments on the enclosed papers please contact me.
I am especially interested in any information that will show that my
assessment of the ultimate failure of Subtitle D landfills to prevent
groundwater pollution by landfill leachate for as long as the wastes in a
Subtitle D "dry tomb" type landfill are a threat are, in any way, inaccurate.
I have yet to find an individual who understands the properties of MSW,
Subtitle D landfill liner and cover systems and groundwater monitoring
systems of the type that are being used today as conforming to minimum
Subtitle D regulatory requirements, who does not agree that there is an
urgent need for the US EPA to immediately change Subtitle D so that landfills
constructed under these regulations will, in fact, protect groundwater
resources from impairment from waste derived constituents for as long as the
wastes represent a threat.

It also appears now that several environmental groups are becoming
interested in this matter where they would be willing to work with the US EPA
and Congress to make the necessary changes in RCRA - Subtitle D to protect
future generations groundwaters from pollution by Subtitle D landfill
leachate. It is now becoming understand that the artificially low initial
costs of landfilling in a minimum Subtitle D landfill is a significant
impediment to MSW reuse, recycling and reduction. If the true long-term
costs of minimum Subtitle D landfills were publicized, including those
associated with Superfund-like clean up of polluted groundwaters, then there
would be a far greater incentive to practice three R's in MSW management than
is being done today.

I would like to thank you for taking time to review this matter. Please let
me know if I can be of assistance in addressing the significant problems that
exist with Subtitle D landfilling of municipal solid wastes.

Sincerely yours,

G. Fred Lee, PhD, PE, DEE
copy to: C. Browner
R. Perciasepe


End of GreenYes Digest V97 #109