Solid Waste Disposal
Another continuing threat
to valleys is solid waste landfills. The problem
has been aggravated by the desire of urban northeastern
states to have their refuse hauled to rural West Virginia.
The 1980s and 1990s were ripe with statutory regulation
and lawsuits, so there is much recent history regarding
The pertinent state statute
is the Solid Waste Management Act [W. Va. Code ch.
22, art. 15]. A principal focus of the statute is limiting
the monthly amount in tons of solid waste to be placed in
the "solid waste facility." In March 1998
the state Legislature enacted Senate Bill 178, modifying
state solid-waste law, to overcome constitutional infirmities
in the old statute, which was held by a U. S. District Court
judge to discriminate against out-of-state trash haulers.
West Virginians have proclaimed loudly that they do not
want their state to become the garbage pit of the east coast.
Valleys have become the repository
of hazardous wastes, too. The Hazardous Waste Management
Act [W. Va. Code ch. 22, art. 18] designates WVDEP as
the lead agency to secure federal money ("benefit")
and requires that the state's waste disposal program be
"equivalent to and consistent with" the federal
Solid Waste Disposal Act [42 U.S. Code sec. 6901
Other federal statutes of
interest are the Resource Conservation and Recovery
Act (RCRA)[42 U.S. Code sec. 6921, et. seq.] under
which EPA regulates hazardous waste from "cradle to
grave." The federal "Superfund" (CERCLA)
statute [42 U.S. Code sec. 9601 et. seq.] , and the 1986
amendments known as SARA, are familiar to many Americans
as efforts to clean up toxic waste sites. SARA title III
includes community-right-to-know mandates regarding
In recent years there has
been a push to restore and use abandoned, polluted industrial
sites known as "brownfields."
West Virginia's brownfields statute [W. Va. Code ch. 22,
art. 22] is called the Voluntary Remediation and
Redevelopment Act and DEP's regulations contain
a "West Virginia Remediation Agreement For No Further
Action Investigation Activities."
As part of the federal-state
regulatory scheme, West Virginia's Office of Waste Management
within DEP is in charge of enforcing state law concerning
subject matter covered under RCRA and CERCLA.
Last updated on Tuesday, July 25, 2000