End of Post-Closure Care at Solid Waste Landfills


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Published in the March 2020 Focus on the Environment Newsletter

For years, owners/operators of solid waste landfills in Ohio were under the false impression that after thirty years of post-closure care and maintaining financial assurance, they could just stop. Several years ago, when the 30-year periods for early landfill closures were approaching, Ohio EPA began informing the owners/operators that this was a misconception, and that they could not just stop post-closure activities; owners/operators had to demonstrate that their landfills no longer posed a threat to human health and the environment prior to ending post-closure care. Until recently, the process of doing that was not well defined. On February 28, 2020, the Ohio EPA released guidance regarding the process for ending post-closure care at solid waste landfills.  

The Process

The new guidance document summarizes the Ohio EPA’s process for municipal solid waste landfill owners and operators that request to end the post-closure care period. This information also applies to industrial and residual solid waste landfills. To request an end to the post-closure care period, a sanitary, industrial, or residual waste landfill owner/operator must submit a written certification that all post-closure care activities have been completed in accordance with the appropriate rule[1]. The certification documentation must include the following, and must be signed and sealed by a professional engineer registered in Ohio:

  • A summary of changes to leachate quality and quantity
  • The rate of leachate generation and quantity of leachate in the landfill, with an explanation of how these figures were derived
  • A summary of any on-going groundwater assessment or corrective measures
  • A summary of explosive gas migration and generation by the landfill
  • An assessment of the integrity and stability of the cap system if post-closure care activities cease

The Ohio EPA requests that the leachate, groundwater, and explosive gas summaries all include data trends for the past ten (10) years so that they can properly assess compliance with post-closure care requirements. It is evident that putting together the required demonstration, documentation, and certification will take some time, so owners/operators should not wait until the 30 post-closure care period is up prior to starting. It is suggested that owners/operators start at the 25-year mark so that there is time to go through the process. The guidance document states that the demonstration may require controlled field tests to see what happens if the leachate collection system is shut down, or if the explosive gas collection system is shut down. These tests should be accomplished by competent geologists and engineers. The guidance document suggests that owners/operators establish a close working relationship with Ohio EPA to efficiently demonstrate that their landfills no longer pose a threat to human health and the environment.

Decision of the Director

The Director of the Ohio EPA may either discontinue or extend the post-closure care period based on the data and information provided, and whether human health and safety and the environment will be protected into the future. The Director can determine that only some post-closure care activities must continue rather than all of them. If it is determined that some or all post-closure care activities can end, the landfill owner/operator will receive a letter from the Director ending those post-closure care requirements. Upon receipt of this letter, if all post-closure care is approved to end, the owner/operator can request the termination of the financial assurance instrument. If the Director determines that some post-closure care activities must continue, the financial assurance instrument should be adjusted accordingly. 

Continuing Obligations

The guidance also discusses continuing obligations regardless of the post-closure status, stressing that the landowner is required to ensure that the landfill will not threaten public health, safety, or the environment in the future. These continuing obligations include:

  • Obtaining authorization in accordance with Rule 3745-513 prior to any to disturbance of the landfill cap
  • Maintaining the integrity of the landfill to ensure that it does not pollute waters of the state (under Chapter 6111 of the Ohio Revised Code)
  • Controlling explosive gas migration
  • Adhering to institutional controls

Voluntary Action Program

An interesting side note is that once a landfill is no longer subject to all of the closure requirements of Chapter 3734 of the Ohio Revised Code (i.e., the Director has determined that no further monitoring or maintenance is required, and the permit is no longer in effect), the property is eligible for the Ohio EPA’s Voluntary Action Program, and, if desired, redevelopment may occur under that program.


[1] Sanitary/municipal waste landfills – 3745-27-14; industrial waste landfills – 3745-29-14; and residual waste landfill – 3745-30-10. It should be noted that the Ohio EPA is currently in the process of consolidating the industrial and residual waste landfill rules, so the rule citation for industrial waste landfills will likely change in the next year or so.

Published in March 2020 Focus on the Environment Newsletter

As the name implies, pump and treat (P&T) is a relatively simple remediation technology where groundwater containing dissolve contaminants is pumped from the aquifer and directed to some form of treatment.  The advantages of P&T are two-fold, it provides hydraulic containment and control of the contaminated groundwater plume while simultaneously reducing the dissolved contaminant concentrations.    These attributes made P&T an attractive and popular alternative back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s when groundwater remediation was in its infancy.  As a result, P&T systems were routinely recommended, approved and implemented, via the technology screening process, as both the interim and final groundwater remedial measure.  

Following startup, most P&T systems performed as predicted and proved successful at both containing and reducing source concentrations.  Over time, however, the nice linear contaminant removal trends became asymptotic as the contaminant removal rate decreased.  These asymptotic or “tailing” concentration trends became synonymous with P&T and marked where the system reached the point of diminishing returns. Adding insult to injury, the concentration where the tailing contaminant trend plateaued often exceeded the site cleanup level or remedial action objective (RAO).  As a result, the original estimated times to achieve the RAOs came and went, and it became evident that most P&T systems would need to operate much longer than expected. To be fair, this was less a failure in the technology than it was in the failure to understand and account for the complex mass transfer processes that govern contaminant transport – a hindsight that provides little if any solace to those faced with operating their P&T systems in perpetuity.    

Along with the extended time projections to attain RAOs came ever increasing operation and maintenance (O&M) requirements and costs.  P&T systems installed as interim measures were often designed based on incomplete/inadequate site characterization and understanding, which often resulted in flawed P&T design and poor system performance.  This subsequently made them ill-suited to serve their subsequent long-term role as the final remedy.  In addition, system design was often focused solely on the target contaminant(s), with little thought given to the natural groundwater quality.  P&T system design typically did not account for the operational challenges resulting from the physical, chemical or biological encrustation/plugging of the well screen, pump, discharge line, and treatment system from naturally occurring minerals and bacteria.  As a result, P&T system performance typically decreases with time and use, resulting in increased energy use and lower pumping rates.  Declining performance and increased operational costs are especially troublesome for P&T systems because they are typically required to operate continuously at designated pumping rates to maintain adequate plume capture. 

It is important to realize that much of the stigma associated with P&T as an O&M nightmare is born out of the poor design and operation of P&T systems and not the technology itself.  After all, the water supply industry has successfully utilized P&T technology for over 100 years to provide groundwater as a reliable source of drinking water for their customers.  And although they face the same challenges with regard to mineral precipitation and biofouling, they have learned to successfully design, manage and operate their systems to achieve maximum long-term efficiency.

If you currently own or operate a P&T system and are faced with the ongoing expense and hassle of operating it over the long term, then it may be time to take a fresh look at the problem.  The first step in this process is to evaluate whether the P&T system can be replaced with an alternative treatment technology.  For example, in-situ oxidative and bioremediation technologies have been utilized successfully at many petroleum hydrocarbon and chlorinated solvent sites as cost-effective replacement technologies for original P&T systems.

If alternative technologies aren’t an option, there are still some steps you can take to potentially improve the overall efficiency of the P&T system.  The process begins with a simple reassessment of the site conceptual model.  The data collected since system startup can be reviewed to refine/update the site conceptual model and identify modifications (pumping rates, well locations) that will improve the P&T system performance, while still maintaining capture. 

The P&T system should be inspected to identify and replace any faulty or inefficient equipment.  In addition, any components that are not used and/or no longer necessary should be removed.  Remediation wells that require frequent cleaning to maintain required pumping rates are candidates for replacement when the maintenance costs exceed the cost for a replacement well.  Any new replacement wells should be installed in the best location to intercept/capture the plume and designed for the site-specific aquifer conditions and minimum pumping rate to maximize efficiency. 

Finally, because well performance typically decreases with time and use, a simple, regularly scheduled data collection and analysis plan should be implemented to track system performance with time.  The resultant data trends provide the operator with the ability to better forecast P&T system maintenance requirements, thereby minimizing the cost and inconvenience of unscheduled down-time and repairs and improving the cost effectiveness and efficiency of the maintenance efforts. 

Unfortunately, P&T as a remediation strategy is not going away anytime soon.  If you are currently operating a P&T system, however, it may be time to take a fresh look and see what if anything can be done to optimize the system and reduce long-term O&M requirements and costs.  Please feel free to contact me if you feel a fresh look may be warranted.

Published in March 2020 Focus on the Environment Newsletter

On March 2, 2020, U.S. EPA released for public comment the draft 2020 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permit for stormwater discharges associated with industrial activity, also referred to as the Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP). Some of the proposed revisions streamline the ability to interpret and comply with the permit, while others will likely increase both the level of effort and costs to maintain permit compliance.  The proposed permit, once finalized, will replace the existing U.S. EPA MSGP, which is set to expire on June 4, 2020.

Although the proposed permit has near-term implications for industrial facilities where U.S. EPA is the NPDES permitting authority, many NPDES-delegated states (including Ohio) mirror the federal permit language when updating their state permit.  Therefore, you can expect significant changes to many state-authored MSGPs in the coming years. EPA’s website and the Proposed 2020 MSGP Fact Sheet list the proposed changes from the 2015 MSGP and note areas where the agency is seeking comment. Majority of the changes incorporate recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and a 2016 agreement with industry groups and environmentalists. The fact sheet is particularly useful as it provides background discussions to better understand the context of each proposed change and request for comment. Some of the noteworthy proposed changes include:

  • Requiring all facilities to conduct universal benchmark monitoring for pH, total suspended solids, and chemical oxygen demand on a quarterly basis (currently only certain industry sectors are required to perform benchmark monitoring for select constituents a total of four times during the 5-year permit term);
  • Revising or removing benchmark values for some constituents based on the latest toxicity information;
  • Addition of benchmark monitoring requirements for various industrial sectors that previously had no benchmark monitoring requirements;
  • Consideration of major storm control measure enhancements for facilities that are located within a flood-prone area, such as the FEMA 100-year flood zone; and
  • A new tiered “additional implementation measures” (AIM) that are triggered by benchmark monitoring exceedances (the proposed AIM is more prescriptive and may incur greater costs than the generalized response actions of the current permit).

Cox-Colvin routinely assists industrial facilities with management of their MSGP and associated storm water pollution prevention plan (SWPPP).  Contact us if you need assistance or would like to discuss possible changes that may affect your facility.

Published in February 2020 Focus on the Environment Newsletter

On January 23, 2020, Andrew Wheeler, Administrator of the U.S. EPA, and R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), signed the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which is the Trump administration’s replacement of the Obama-era Waters of the United States rule of 2015.

This rule is somewhat different than the proposed rule, released on December 11, 2018 that defined six categories of Federal jurisdictional waters. The newly signed rule has only four categories because of revisions made based on the comments that were received regarding the proposed rule. The four d categories are now:

  • Territorial seas and traditional navigable waters
  • Tributaries
  • Lakes, ponds and impoundments of jurisdictional waters
  • Adjacent wetlands

The rule clarifies factors that determine whether wetlands are adjacent, and are therefore jurisdictional and exempts groundwater, ephemeral features, and water bodies not included in the list above from being jurisdictional waters of the United States. EPA and the Corps of Engineers produced a fact sheet that summarizes the new rule.

The changes are not in line with the precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2006 ruling (Rapanos v.United States) in which Justice Anthony Kennedy stated that the Clean Water Act protects wetlands and waterways that have a “significant nexus” to navigable waters. The definition of “significant nexus” was ill defined, which caused some confusion and numerous lawsuits.    The 2015 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule was supposed to clarify what waters were covered by the rule, although many States and private entities filed lawsuits regarding the rule. The result was a mixture of states covered by the rule – 22 states covered, 27 not covered, and some counties in New Mexico covered and some not. Upon issuing the repeal of the 2015 rule in September 2019, some court cases were dropped as the issues became moot. Following the repeal, more lawsuits were filed that challenged the repeal. On January 23, 2020, Ohio and Tennessee filed a brief with the 6th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals stating:

“In light of that 2019 Repeal, the federal agencies and the Intervenors argue that this case is moot, either constitutionally or prudentially. But the ongoing challenges to the 2019 Repeal defeat that argument. A case is constitutionally moot “only if it is impossible for a court to grant any effectual relief whatever.” Mission Prod. Holdings v. Tempnology, LLC, 139 S. Ct. 1652, 1660 (2019) (quotation omitted).”

In addition to the litigation filed against the September 2019 repeal rule, environmental and conservation groups have announced that they plan litigation against the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. Based on the historical opposition and disputes regarding what waters should be protected by Federal law, we should expect additional lawsuits will continue to tie up this issue, perhaps for years to come. Until it is settled, industries, developers, ranchers, and farmers, etc., may have to weigh the advantages of proceeding in accordance with the new law versus the risks of being in violation of previous laws if the courts enjoin or order an injunction against the new law.

Another thing to consider is that states regulate non-jurisdictional waters; i.e., those that do not fall under federal jurisdiction. Chapter 6111 of the Ohio Revised Code (Water Pollution Control) is the law that regulates surface water management in the state. This include isolated (non-jurisdictional) wetlands. In section 611.01(H), waters of the state are defined as:

“Waters of the state” means all streams, lakes, ponds, marshes, watercourses, waterways, wells, springs, irrigation systems, drainage systems, and other bodies or accumulations of water, surface and underground, natural or artificial, regardless of the depth of the strata in which underground water is located, that are situated wholly or partly within, or border upon, this state, or are within its jurisdiction, except those private waters that do not combine or effect a junction with natural surface or underground waters.

From this definition, it suggests that if a water body does not fall under Federal jurisdiction, it does fall under the laws of the State of Ohio. It is interesting to note that groundwater is a water of the state, even though it has been exempted from coverage under the Clean Water Act by the Navigable Water Protection Rule.

Published in February 2020 Focus on the Environment Newsletter

In November 2019, Governor Mike DeWine announced a water quality program designed to reduce harmful algal blooms in Ohio’s lakes, improve wastewater infrastructure, and prevent lead contamination. At that time, Governor DeWine stated:

“We have a moral obligation to preserve and protect our natural resources. …My H2Ohio plan is a dedicated, holistic water quality strategy with long-lasting solutions to address the causes of Ohio’s water problems, not just the symptoms.”

A part of the plan targeted the reduction of phosphorus runoff from fertilizer and manure using agricultural best management practices, and the creation of wetlands to absorb the nutrients that come from farm fields. On January 15, 2020, Governor DeWine and Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda announced that $30 million in H2Ohio funding will be available starting this month for Ohio farmers in fourteen counties(1) in the Maumee River watershed to help farmers minimize phosphorus runoff. The funds will be available to farmers who implement one or more of ten proven methods that reduce runoff of phosphorus. The ten proven methods are:

  • Soil testing
  • Variable rate fertilization
  • Subsurface nutrient application
  • Manure incorporation
  • Conservation crop rotation
  • Cover crops
  • Drainage water management
  • Two stage ditch construction
  • Edge-of-field buffers
  • Wetlands

Nutrient Reduction Practices

Details regarding these practices can be found at the H2Ohio website and the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network (BRDFN) website. The BRDFN, a joint partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Services and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, is designed to showcase and demonstrate leading edge conservation practices to improve Great Lakes water quality. There is a wealth of information on the BRDFN website regarding the reduction of soil erosion and the fertilizer/nutrient loss from farm fields discharging into surface water.

The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences Extension service has a website on the subject of two-stage channels, including links on why a two-stage ditch should be considered, steps in sizing a two-stage channel, and economic and design issues.

Success Story

A good example of a success story regarding the reduction of nutrients into surface water is the Shatto Ditch in northeastern Indiana. The Shatto ditch was discharging phosphorus and nitrate rich muddy runoff from farm fields into the Tippecanoe River. Rainwater was eroding the farm fields, and farmers were losing valuable topsoil and fertilizer, which was flowing into the Tippecanoe, which flowed into the Wabash River. Following initial studies, the ditch was modified into a two-stage ditch. Farmers planted grass along the waterways, and started planting cover crops to help hold the soil and prevent erosion. Farmers adopted other modern agricultural practices and have substantially reduced the erosion and nutrient loading of the ditch and the Tippecanoe River. Articles discussing the project can be read at the University of Notre Dame and Center for Public Integrity websites.

Meetings to Learn about the Funding

The Ohio Department of Agriculture, along with local soil and water conservation districts and the Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative will hold meetings to describe the process necessary for farmers in the Maumee watershed to obtain funding for similar projects. The Governor’s announcement lists the days and locations of the informational meetings.

This is one step in reducing nutrients being discharged into the Maumee River and Lake Erie. The state is planning on offering the program to other parts of the state in the future. Other parts of H2Ohio include ensuring safe, clean water to citizens of the state by addressing failing home septic systems in disadvantaged communities, and assessing the amount of lead in the water of high-risk daycare centers and schools.  


(1) Allen, Auglaize, Defiance, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Lucas, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert, Williams, and Wood.

Published in February 2020 Focus on the Environment Newsletter

In January, the World Economic Forum released its 15th edition of the annual Global Risks Report 2020. The World Economic Forum is an international not-for-profit foundation of the world’s 1,000 leading companies established in 1971 for public-private cooperation.  Anyone who follows national and international news is familiar with The World Economic Forum annual meeting held each year in Davos Switzerland.  The annual Global Risk Report is produced in partnership with Marsh & McLennan and Zurich Insurance Group and provides results of the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Risk Perception Survey completed by approximately 800 members of the forum. 

Participants were asked to assess whether the risk associated with 40 current issues would increase or decrease on a global level in 2020 compared to 2019.  Categories of current issues included economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal, and technological.  Possible answers to survey questions ranged from “significantly decrease” to “significantly increase” on a scale of 1 to 5.

The survey defines global risk as an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, can cause significant negative impact for several countries or industries within the next ten years. For the first time in the 15-year history of the survey, the top five global risks in terms of likelihood of occurrence are all environmental related.  From most likely to least likely, the top five long-term global risks identified were:

  • Extreme weather
  • Climate action failure
  • Natural disasters
  • Biodiversity loss
  • Human-made environmental disasters.

Last year, three of the top five most likely global risks identified in the Global Risk Report were environmental, with the others being technological risk (cyberattacks. and data fraud or theft). Prior to 2011, the top five risks were all either economic, geopolitical, societal, or technological.

In terms of impact, the top five long-term global risks identified in the 2020 Global Risk Report fell within environmental, geopolitical, and societal categories.  From most impact to least impact, they are:

  • Climate action failure (environmental)
  • Weapons of mass destruction (geopolitical)
  • Biodiversity loss (environmental)
  • Extreme weather (environmental)
  • Water crises (societal).

2020 is the first year since 2017 that risk of Weapons of Mass Destruction was not identified as the number one global risk in terms of impact.

Appendix B of the report provides descriptive statistics and information concerning the profiles of the respondents.  Respondent organization type was predominantly business (38%), followed by academia (21%) and government (15%).  Expertise of respondents was primarily economics, followed by other (22%), technology (13%), society (13%), geopolitics (12%), and environment (9%).  Forty four percent of respondent were from Europe, followed by North America (17%), East Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and South Asia (each at approximately 9%).

Published in January 2020 Focus on the Environment Newsletter

As a consultant and advisor on vapor intrusion (VI) projects implemented throughout North America, South America, and Europe, one of the most frequently asked questions is “How many samples should we take to assess this building?”  The answer, as one would suspect, depends on a lot of factors, including the goals of assessment, the size and use of the building, the COCs, etc.  If you happen to practice in the State of Michigan, you may be interested to know that EGLE has updated their 2013 VI Guidance document to eliminate some confusion concerning sample density for sub-slab soil gas sample points in commercial buildings.

According to EGLE’s January 10, 2020 notification, they have modified Table 5-2: Sampling Density in Commercial Buildings to clarify the expected sample density.

There has been consistent reliance on the minimum number of samples without consideration of the building size. Language has been added to the table to clarify the minimum number of samples is only appropriate for a building that meets the minimum of the square footage listed within the table. A sample density less than what is expected from the table may be proposed but must have justification for how it will represent the building conditions.”

Questions regarding the use of the department’s 2013 VI Guidance should be directed to Matthew Williams, Volatilization to Indoor Air Specialist, WilliamsM13@Michigan.gov or 517-284-5171 or any of the VI TAPS POCs.

Published in January 2020 Focus on the Environment Newsletter

On Monday, December 2, 2019, the Ohio EPA and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) released the Ohio Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan for Drinking Water. The stated focus of the action plan is to evaluate the potential risk of PFAS in both public and private drinking water systems in Ohio and assist communities in addressing these risks.

Under the plan, Ohio EPA will coordinate the collection of both raw and finished water samples from approximately 1,500 public water systems (PWS).  Ohio EPA and ODH expect to complete this work in 2020.  At that time, it will be determined which PWS have PFAS detected.  A likely next step will be for Ohio EPA and concerned citizen groups to begin searching for potential sources of PFAS that are reaching PWS. 

The generally accepted primary sources of PFAS are fire training\fire response sites, industrial sites, landfills, and wastewater treatment plant/discharge/biosolids1.  Two major concerns for owners and operators of potential PFAS source areas are: 1) has there been a PFAS release at my site? and 2) if so, where is it migrating?

Groundwater modeling is a tool that among other things can be used to predict the areal extent of groundwater contamination from source areas to potential receptors or in reverse from receptors such as Public Water Supplies to potential sources.  As with hydrocarbons and chlorinated solvents, groundwater models can be used to simulate the migration of PFAS compounds, such as PFOA and PFOS, for various relevant scenarios2.

PFAS specific modeling data is being collected and will probably continue to be collected at a rapid pace due to the importance of this issue.  As this data is made available, groundwater models can be improved\refined to better simulate the migration of PFAS plumes.

2 Simon JA, Abrams S, Bradburne T, et al. PFAS Experts Symposium: Statements on regulatory policy, chemistry and analytics, toxicology, transport/fate, and remediation for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination issues. Remediation. 2019;2931-48.

Published in January 2020 Focus on the Environment Newsletter

EPA in partnership with the states, biennially collects information from hazardous waste large quantity generators (LQGs) and treatment storage and disposal facilities (TSDFs) about the generation, management, and final disposition of hazardous waste regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).  The information is provided by LQGs and TSDs in what is known as the Hazardous Waste Report or Biennial Hazardous Waste Report.

If a site was a LQG or a TSD in one or more calendar months of an odd-numbered year, they are required to file a Hazardous Waste Report. A LQG is a site that generates 2200 or more pounds of hazardous waste in a calendar month (or 2.2 pounds or more of acute hazardous waste). The HWR is due no later than March 1 of the following even-numbered year and covers all hazardous waste activities conducted in the previous calendar year. The data in the report is reviewed by Ohio EPA and forwarded to U.S. EPA in fulfillment of the Biennial Report requirement.

2020 being an even year, if your facility was a LQG or TSD in 2019 you will need to submit a biennial report to EPA or your state equivalent by March 1, 2020.  Keep in mind that March 1, 2020 falls on a Sunday.  In Ohio, the business day due date is actually March 2, 2020. Ohio facilities are encouraged to file electronically through the eDRUMS web-based Hazardous Waste Report Service through Ohio EPA’s eBusiness Center. For Ohio e-filers, note that the following new activities were added to the Site ID Summary/Hazardous Waste Activities screen in the eBusiness Center eDRUMS app due to changes in federal requirements:

  • Pharmaceutical Activities including Healthcare Facility and Reverse Distributor designations
  • Large Quantity Generator Site Closure  
  • Large Quantity Generator Consolidation of Very Small Quantity Generator Hazardous Waste

While these activities have been included on the Site ID Summary/Hazardous Waste Activities screen in eDRUMS in anticipation of rule adoption, they should not be reported until the corresponding rules are effective in Ohio.  The Ohio EPA is in the process of adopting these federal regulations (Management Standards for Hazardous Pharmaceuticals and Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule) and therefore, industry must refrain from notifying about any of the above-mentioned activities unless the Hazardous Waste Report is submitted late, after the rules are effective in Ohio.

March 1 is also the deadline for submitting the related Supplementary Annual Report for Groundwater.  Facilities conducting RCRA post-closure groundwater monitoring must prepare and submit groundwater monitoring specific reports each year (not biannually) for the prior year.  The Supplementary Annual Report is also submitted electronically. Instruction for completing the Supplementary Annual Report for Groundwater are available through the Ohio EPA’s Hazardous Waste Reporting Page.  If you are new to the Supplementary Annual Report, the formatting requirements can be overwhelming and fraught with potential for error. 

Cox-Colvin & Associates, Inc. has been assisting clients with both Hazardous Waste Reports and Supplementary Annual Reports for nearly 25 years and have developed web-based applications to assist with the reports.  For further information, contact the author.

Published in December 2019 Focus on the Environment Newsletter

In 2018, the Ohio EPA proposed to merge the industrial solid waste landfill rules (Ohio Administrative Code Rule 3745-29) with the residual solid waste landfill rules (OAC Rule 3745-30) and concurrently rescind Rule 3745-29. This is a logical step, as the requirements of the two sets of rules are very similar except for the definition/classification of a residual waste landfill. On December 6, 2019, the Ohio EPA released an Interested Party draft of the changes to the industrial solid waste (ISW) and residual solid waste (RSW) rules. The rules package proposes to rescind Rule 3745-29 altogether and incorporate those requirements into Rule 3745-30.

As explained in the Interested Party Factsheet, the proposed Rule 3745-30 includes revisions that merge the ISW/RSW programs, wordsmithing to bring the text in compliance with Ohio EPA rule-writing standards, and in many places, replacing the term “director” with “Ohio EPA”, thereby allowing the director to delegate the work to staff, rather than making those actions  mandatory for the director. In addition, Rules 3745-27-15 and -16 (financial assurance for solid waste facilities and sanitary landfill facilities, respectively) are being revised to remove references to Rule 3745-29.

Significant specific changes include the following:

  • Class II and IV residual landfill classifications have been eliminated; Class I is redefined as “industrial” landfill, and Class III becomes “residual” landfill.
  • Landfill liner and cap design changes in proposed Rule 3745-30-07 (Industrial landfill and residual landfill facility construction)
  • Post-closure care period changed to fifteen years unless putrescible (liable to decay) waste was disposed, then it is thirty years
  • 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP) and ethylene dibromide (EDB) – the so-called pineapple pesticides – were removed from the list of volatile organic compound water quality parameters (Appendix A)
  • Owners/operators can return to detection monitoring from assessment monitoring without approval by the director (under defined circumstances)
  • Boron and molybdenum were added to the water quality parameter list for waste generated from fuel burning operations that use coal for fuel – this change was to match federal coal combustion residue requirements

Specific changes for each rule (i.e., redline strikeout and added text) can be seen at the Ohio EPA Division of Materials and Waste Management’s non-hazardous waste rules webpage under “ISW/RSW Interested Party Release” in the “Interested Party” tab.

The Ohio EPA is accepting comments on the proposed rules until 5:00 pm on January 21, 2020. Send comments to Michelle Mountjoy at michelle.mountjoy@epa.ohio.gov or by postal mail at

Michelle Mountjoy, Rules Coordinator
Ohio EPA
Division of Materials and Waste Management
P.O. Box 1049
Columbus, OH 43216-1049


End of Post-Closure Care at Solid Waste Landfills

  • By: Steve
  • Posted: 03/22/20

Published in the March 2020 Focus on the Environment Newsletter For years, owners/operators of solid waste landfills in Ohio were under the false impression that after thirty years of post-closure care and maintaining financial assurance, they could just stop. Several years ago, when the 30-year periods for early landfill closures were approaching, Ohio EPA began […]

Pump-and-Treat – Can’t Live With it, Can’t Live Without it

  • By: Doug
  • Posted: 03/11/20

Published in March 2020 Focus on the Environment Newsletter As the name implies, pump and treat (P&T) is a relatively simple remediation technology where groundwater containing dissolve contaminants is pumped from the aquifer and directed to some form of treatment.  The advantages of P&T are two-fold, it provides hydraulic containment and control of the contaminated […]

U.S. EPA Releases NPDES 2020 Draft Industrial Stormwater Permit for Public Comment

Published in March 2020 Focus on the Environment Newsletter On March 2, 2020, U.S. EPA released for public comment the draft 2020 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permit for stormwater discharges associated with industrial activity, also referred to as the Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP). Some of the proposed revisions streamline the ability to […]

Waters of the United States Update

  • By: Steve
  • Posted: 02/14/20

Published in February 2020 Focus on the Environment Newsletter On January 23, 2020, Andrew Wheeler, Administrator of the U.S. EPA, and R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), signed the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which is the Trump administration’s replacement of the Obama-era Waters of the United […]

H2Ohio Water Quality Plan to Protect Ohio’s Water

  • By: Steve
  • Posted: 02/13/20

Published in February 2020 Focus on the Environment Newsletter In November 2019, Governor Mike DeWine announced a water quality program designed to reduce harmful algal blooms in Ohio’s lakes, improve wastewater infrastructure, and prevent lead contamination. At that time, Governor DeWine stated: “We have a moral obligation to preserve and protect our natural resources. …My […]

World Economic Forum Report on Global Risks Finds Top Five Global Risks are Environmental

  • By: George
  • Published in February 2020 Focus on the Environment Newsletter In January, the World Economic Forum released its 15th edition of the annual Global Risks Report 2020. The World Economic Forum is an international not-for-profit foundation of the world’s 1,000 leading companies established in 1971 for public-private cooperation.  Anyone who follows national and international news is […]

Michigan EGLE Provides Clarification on Sample Density for VI Studies

  • By: Craig
  • Posted: 01/23/20

Published in January 2020 Focus on the Environment Newsletter As a consultant and advisor on vapor intrusion (VI) projects implemented throughout North America, South America, and Europe, one of the most frequently asked questions is “How many samples should we take to assess this building?”  The answer, as one would suspect, depends on a lot […]

The Use of Groundwater Models in PFAS Investigations

  • By: Roger
  • Posted: 01/22/20

Published in January 2020 Focus on the Environment Newsletter On Monday, December 2, 2019, the Ohio EPA and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) released the Ohio Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan for Drinking Water. The stated focus of the action plan is to evaluate the potential risk of PFAS in both public […]

Biennial Hazardous Waste Reports and Supplementary Annual Reports for Groundwater Due March 1

Published in January 2020 Focus on the Environment Newsletter EPA in partnership with the states, biennially collects information from hazardous waste large quantity generators (LQGs) and treatment storage and disposal facilities (TSDFs) about the generation, management, and final disposition of hazardous waste regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).  The information is provided […]

Ohio EPA Proposed Industrial/Residual Solid Waste Rule Changes

  • By: Steve
  • Posted: 12/19/19

Published in December 2019 Focus on the Environment Newsletter In 2018, the Ohio EPA proposed to merge the industrial solid waste landfill rules (Ohio Administrative Code Rule 3745-29) with the residual solid waste landfill rules (OAC Rule 3745-30) and concurrently rescind Rule 3745-29. This is a logical step, as the requirements of the two sets […]

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