EPA’s recent regulatory changes are expected to alter the way landfills are regulated for the foreseeable future with a potential to add additional compliance costs for the industry.
Update on Federal Air and GHG Regulations Affecting Landfills
The air quality and greenhouse gas (GHG) regulatory framework at the federal level is currently in a state of flux with respect to landfills. The landfill industry awaits the issuance of a revised version of the municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) under 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 60, Subpart WWW. At the same time, the industry is bracing for a final legal decision on whether biogenic emissions must be counted under the Tailoring Rule for Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V permitting programs. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued changes to the GHG mandatory reporting rule (MRR) promulgated under 40 CFR Part 98, which directly affect MSW landfills and take effect for 2014. Collectively, these regulatory changes are expected to alter the way landfills are regulated for the foreseeable future with a potential to add additional compliance costs for the industry.
Recent MRR Changes
On November 29, 2013, the EPA published the final version of revisions (Technical Corrections) to the federal MRR. The revisions became effective on January 1, 2014, and changes must be incorporated into the reporting of calendar year 2013 GHG emissions (due March 31, 2014).
MSW landfills are categorically required to report annual GHG emissions under 40 CFR Part 98, Subpart HH of the MRR if they meet the definition of the source category under Subpart HH and their methane generation exceeds 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e). Landfills required to report under the MRR must also meet general reporting requirements (Subpart A), report all stationary combustion, excluding flares (Subpart C), and report other applicable sectors, if present.The MRR requires that landfill operators monitor information used to calculate GHG emissions, including landfill gas (LFG) flow and methane content when an active LFG collection and control system (GCCS) are present. Prior to the promulgation of the Technical Corrections, landfill operators must collect LFG flow and methane content measurements at least weekly, but this requirement was modified in the Technical Corrections as detailed below.