Beginning on October 28, 2016, new and modified municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills are now subject to updated New Source Performance Standards under the Clean Air Act 81 FR 59331. The U.S. EPA has also issued new rules for existing MSW landfills, but they must be implemented through state or federal implementation plans before they become operative.

The rules are in part a reaction to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which instructed the U.S. EPA and other federal agencies to assess ways of reducing methane emissions. The most significant new element of both sets of regulations is a reduction in the threshold at which the requirement to install a regulatory landfill gas collection and control system (GCCS) is triggered. U.S. EPA is, however, also providing owners and operators with additional flexibility in this area. Under the new Tier 4 option they can put off installing a regulatory GCCS by demonstrating through surface emission monitoring methane emissions below 500 ppm.

There is a lot more in the new rules that the industry must be aware of, including mandatory electronic reporting requirements. For more details, see our Client Alert on the topic.