EPA proposes updates to reduce methane, pollutants from new landfills

Agency also seeks public input on potential updates to guidelines for existing landfills.

July 14, 2014
REW Staff

As part of the President’s Climate Action plan – Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed updates to its air standards for new municipal solid waste landfills.
The updates would require certain landfills to capture additional landfill gas, which would reduce emissions of methane and help reduce pollution. The agency also is seeking input from the public on how and whether to update guidelines for existing landfills.

The EPA points out that methane has a global warming potential 25 times that of carbon dioxide.
“Reducing methane emissions is a powerful way to take action on climate change,” says Administrator Gina McCarthy. “This latest step from the President’s methane strategy builds on our progress to date and takes steps to cut emissions from landfills through common-sense standards.”

The proposal would require new MSW landfills subject to the rule to begin controlling landfill gas at a lower emissions threshold than currently required. Under the proposal, landfills would capture two-thirds of their methane and air toxics emissions by 2023 – 13 percent more than required under current rules. EPA estimates the net nationwide annual costs of complying with the additional requirements in the proposed rule would be $471,000 in 2023.

The EPA also issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) seeking public input on whether and how to update current emissions guidelines for existing landfills to further reduce their emissions, including methane. The agency is considering updating its guidelines based on a several factors, including significant changes that have occurred in the landfill industry since the original guidelines were issued in 1996. Nearly 1,000 MSW landfills in the U.S. currently are subject to either the 1996 emission guidelines for existing landfills or the 1996 NSPS for new landfills.

More information is available at www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/landfill/landflpg.html.