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Are landfills covered under Title III of SARA since they are covered by RCRA?

Yes, landfills are subject to certain Title III requirements.  Subtitle A of Title III is intended to identify facilities which present a potential hazard for a chemical emergency and to provide a process for local emergency planning committees to engage with such facilities in determining the significance of the release hazard and developing response plans to facilitate timely and appropriate response in the event of a chemical spill.  Because landfills meet the definition of "facility" and may in some instances present such a hazard, EPA interprets them to be subject to reporting and notification requirements under Section 302 in Subtitle A.

While EPA agrees that conditions at some facilities (including landfills) may not pose significant chemical hazards even though extremely hazardous substances are present in excess of the threshold planning quantity, in other such facilities conditions will exist which do present a significant hazard.  Such assessment must be made on a site-specific basis.  EPA believes that leaving such decisions to the local planning committees is consistent with the purpose of Subtitle A.  Communities must know which facilities may present potential for chemical emergencies so they can determine the nature of the risk to the public and to emergency responders.

It is recognized that Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations already address many of the goals of Subtitle A of Title III.  However, it is important that the facility contingency plan and local coordination required by RCRA be coordinated with any new State and local planning structure or community planning process established under Title III.  Full compliance with RCRA requirements should minimize additional planning activities with local communities under Title III.  Therefore, these requirements are not duplicative.  

It should be noted that landfills may not be covered under the other sections of Title III.  The placing of a container holding an extremely hazardous substance into a landfill which has a federal permit for this chemical is exempt from the Section 304 emergency release notification.  Also, under Subtitle B, Sections 311/312, most substances at landfills would be exempt due to the exemption for any hazardous waste such as defined by the Solid Waste Disposal Act under the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (only hazardous chemicals for which a MSDS must be prepared or available under the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard must report under Sections 311/312).

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Topic Information
  • Topic #: 23002-13955
  • Date Created: 7/20/2009
  • Last Modified Since: 4/8/2014
  • Viewed: 5624

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