Revisor ID: R-04556
Through this proposed Construction and Demolition Debris (C&D) Landfill rulemaking, MPCA plans to amend existing Minnesota Rules governing permits and solid waste landfills (chapters 7001 and 7035).
The goal is to update these rules by incorporating lessons learned about the potential for groundwater impacts of unlined C&D landfills. MPCA monitoring has found pollutants in groundwater around unlined C&D landfills at levels which exceed standards to protect human health and the environment. Major rule concepts were developed using a variety of sources including information from other states in our region, a Rule Advisory Panel, the 2019 Report on Groundwater Impacts, the Sustainable Building Group, and Minnesota statutes and rules. An updated rule is now being drafted based on these major concepts. As part of the rulemaking process, public comment on the rule will be sought in the future.
Forthcoming proposal to better protect soil and groundwater from contamination
Construction and demolition (C&D) debris is generated during construction, renovation, and demolition. These wastes include materials such as concrete, asphalt, bricks, wood products, roofing, drywall, plaster, carpet, plastics, metals, and other wastes. When C&D debris is not recycled or reused, most of it goes to C&D landfills. In Minnesota, there are over 90 C&D landfills or portions of landfills without liners or leachate-collection systems that accept or have accepted C&D debris. If there is no liner or leachate collection system, leachate will find its way to groundwater.
Minnesota’s current C&D debris disposal system is not protective of the environment because C&D landfills lack engineered components to prevent soil and groundwater contamination. The MPCA will propose a new demolition landfill rule that requires all landfills:
- Be lined with leachate collection systems.
- Be capped with an impermeable cover.
- Have more stringent operating, location, and closure requirements.
- Require groundwater monitoring and financial assurance to facilitate proper closure.
- Mitigate potential future liabilities.
- The MPCA is also proposing to eliminate the unlined C&D permit by rule facilities.
Facts supporting the proposed rule include:
- C&D debris is not inert.
- Prevention of pollution is always preferred over mitigation and remediation.
- Unlined landfills release leachate into groundwater.
- The 2019 Groundwater Report identified system-wide impacts to groundwater, indicating a need to change the rules and regulations.
- There are currently three unlined C&D landfills that have impacted residential drinking water sources; affected residents have received alternative drinking water sources.
- Minnesota’s groundwater is a highly valuable and sensitive resource.
- Minnesota does not allow groundwater to be degraded beyond its highest use, which is drinking water.
- Other states in our region have ceased unlined landfilling of C&D materials.
The MPCA is currently drafting C&D rules and language for a Statement of Need and Reasonableness (SONAR) to address major concepts developed to date. Please subscribe to the GovDelivery service for updates.
Rule advisory panel
The Rule advisory panel (RAP) was formed to advise the agency on potential content of the new C&D Rule. The panel met from fall 2019 to spring 2021 and again in summer 2023. Members of the rule advisory panel focused on the end-of-life management of C&D material. The role of the panel was to discuss and advise MPCA on topics directly related to C&D landfills, such as design and operation, prevention aspects, and water quality.
RAP members were selected based on expertise, ability to communicate within their sector, geographic area, ability to work on a team, ability to attend meetings and allocate time to the effort. Representation included C&D landfill owners and operators, environmental Consultants, environmental organizations, county staff and one private citizen.