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Know the West

Landfills: It depends on the size

  Dear HCN:

Please accept our thanks for the article on solid-waste management in rural areas (HCN, 3/7/94). It may well be the fairest treatment we have seen of these rules designed partly to keep today's landfills from becoming tomorrow's Superfund sites.

One point, however, could have alarmed some small landfill operators. In discussing the Natural Resources Defense Council lawsuit against EPA, Ed Quillen said rural counties in arid areas lost an exemption EPA had granted earlier and were left with only a six-month extension of an original compliance date of Oct. 9, 1993.

It's a bit more complicated than that. On that date, we published a series of time extensions for landfills of various sizes to come into compliance. Landfills receiving more than 100 tons per day had to meet the Oct. 9 deadline. Those receiving more than 20 tons per day but less than 100 got the extension until April 1994 that Quillen mentioned. Small landfills in arid regions were given a two-year extension, until Oct. 9, 1995.

EPA will use that time to decide on what groundwater monitoring requirements to place on such small landfills. There will be public meetings on that issue this summer.

William P. Yellowtail

Denver, Colorado

The writer is regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency Region 8.