Solid Waste Disposal ACT of 1965
EPA defines an “open dump” as a multi-family dumpsite of any size or content. Open dumping is illegal under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The hazards of open dumping can include the release of toxics and heavy metals to the air and water; the increased presence of disease vectors such as rodents and insects; and physical hazards such as hypodermic needles, poisonous gases, and/or piercing objects.
EPA’s Pacific Southwest Tribal Solid Waste Program helps prevent open dumping in Indian Country by providing funding and technical assistance to develop solid waste management and enforcement programs. For dumpsites posing an imminent and substantial endangerment, EPA can enforce closure under RCRA Section 7003 or 4005c2. Citizens can bring federal civil suits under RCRA Section 7002 for potential or actual violations of RCRA.
We rely on our partnership with the Indian Health Service (IHS) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to rank the relative risk of open dumpsites and prioritize them for closure. We also work closely with BIA to enforce against the operators of specific sites when necessary.
Research, Development and Demonstration Permits (RD&D) (PDF) (56 pp, 97K)
EPA provides technical assistance to improve compliance at tribal landfills. For landfill siting issues, EPA works in partnership with tribes, following the August 1997 draft guidance, entitled "Site-Specific Flexibility Requests for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills in Indian Country". This draft guidance document describes a process by which municipal solid waste landfill (MSWLF) owners and operators in Indian Country can request design and operating flexibility. This same flexibility is available to landfill owners and operators in states with EPA-approved permitting programs. The process encourages active dialogue among tribes, MSWLF owners and operators, EPA and the public.
Waste transfer stations are facilities where municipal solid waste is unloaded from collection vehicles and briefly held while it is reloaded onto larger transport vehicles for shipment to landfills or other treatment or disposal facilities.