Land Disposal Program Flexibility Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-119)
On March 26, 1996, President Clinton signed into law Public Law 104-119 (H.R. 2036), cited as the "Land Disposal Program Flexibility Act of 1996." This legislation amends certain sections of the Solid Waste Disposal Act [now more commonly referred to as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)]. In particular, this Act makes adjustments relative to land disposal restriction (LDR) provisions, and to ground water monitoring at solid waste landfill units. The legislation also includes various technical corrections to the Solid Waste Disposal Act.
With respect to the LDR program, the Act overrules portions of a 1992 court decision [Chemical Waste Management v. EPA, 976 F. 2d 2 (D.C. Cir. 1992)] concerning the management of decharacterized wastes in centralized wastewater management systems regulated under the Clean Water Act or the Safe Drinking Water Act. A main purpose of the legislation is to put back in place the regulatory approach for these wastes which was promulgated by the June 1, 1990 LDR "Third Third" rule (55 FR 22520). Pursuant to this statute, such wastes are no longer prohibited from land disposal as long as they are not hazardous wastes at the point they are land disposed.
This law negates much of what was promulgated in regards to centrally managed decharacterized wastewaters by the recent LDR Phase III final rule (04/28/96; 61 FR 15566). Accordingly, EPA published a notice immediately following the LDR Phase III final rule identified as a "partial withdrawal and amendment of final rule" (04/28/96; 61 FR 15660). In addition, the partial withdrawal notice amends parts of the LDR Phase II final rule that are also overruled by the legislation.
One provision of the legislation requires EPA to conduct a study characterizing risks to human health or the environment associated with the management of decharacterized wastes in surface impoundments or in Class I injection wells. As part of the study, EPA is to evaluate the extent to which risks are addressed by existing State or Federal programs. EPA is authorized to impose additional requirements (based on the findings of the study) as deemed necessary to protect human health or the environment.
With respect to Subtitle D of RCRA, the Act amends a section pertaining to "revisions of guidelines and criteria" relative to solid waste landfill units. Small landfills (receiving less than 20 tons per day) will be exempted from ground water monitoring requirements if there is no evidence of ground water contamination. EPA is required to provide approved States (within 2 years) with additional flexibility to allow such small landfills to use [protective] alternative requirements regarding daily cover application, methane gas monitoring, and means for demonstrating financial assurance. Under this Act, States are also provided the authority to require ground water monitoring for units that would otherwise be exempt, and to require corrective action as appropriate.
For further information, contact Al Sikri or Bill Fortune, Office of Nuclear Safety and Environment at (202) 586-1879 or 586-7302 or e-mail at (firstname.lastname@example.org) or (email@example.com), respectively.