9VAC20-81-210. Leachate Control.
A. Design plan. The design plan shall provide for leachate management. This design plan shall include the following:
B. Tanks and surface impoundments used for storage of leachate shall have a flow equalization and surge capacity at least equal to the maximum expected production of leachate for any seven-day period for the life of the facility estimated under subdivision A 1 of this section. Leachate storage capacity may not be considered to include leachate that may have collected in or on the liner system. Storage tanks and impoundments shall be aerated, as necessary, to prevent and control odors.
C. Surface impoundments used for storage of leachate shall be equipped with a liner system that shall provide equal or greater protection of human health and the environment than that provided by the liner of the landfill producing the leachate.
D. The collected leachate shall be:
1. Discharged directly or after pretreatment into a line leading to the publicly owned treatment works or other permitted wastewater treatment facility;
2. Transported by a vehicle to an offsite permitted wastewater treatment facility;
3. Recirculated within the landfill, provided that the irrigated area is underlain by a composite liner or other liner system approved by EPA or Research, Development, and Demonstration plan for recirculation, and that the operation causes no runoff, ponding, or nuisance odors;
4. Treated onsite and discharged into surface water when authorized under VPDES permit; or
5. Other methods of treatment or disposal as approved by the department.
E. The collected leachate shall not be discharged to an underground drain field.
F. Leachate seeps. If a leachate seep(s) occurs, the owner or operator shall repair the seep(s) and do the following:
1. Take all immediate steps necessary to protect public health and safety including those required by the contingency plan.
2. Take immediate action to minimize, control, or eliminate the seep, and to contain and properly manage the leachate at the source of the seep.
3. Any leachate released outside the lined area permitted for waste disposal shall be properly collected and disposed.
[Current language in §A(2) is stricken in this proposal.]
Justification: Landfills are particularly worrisome uses that carry a significant risk to water supply – both surface and groundwater sources. In 2003, the United States Geological Survey in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Health-Office of Drinking Water published Aquifer Susceptibility in Virginia, 1998-2000, in which it concluded that groundwater within the study area had a 100% susceptibility to contamination over a 50-year period. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has stated that “even the best liner and leachate collection systems will ultimately fail due to natural deterioration.” 53 Fed. Reg. 33345.
The proposed amendment to 9VAC20-81-210 will not preclude the risk of failure of landfills, but the amendment would provide substantial reduction to the risk posed by landfills to potentially affected water supplies. Once groundwater is contaminated, there is no practical means of remediating the damage to that supply, which in many parts of the Commonwealth is the exclusive source of drinking water. Requiring a more effective leachate collection and removal system for all new landfills will reduce the impact of the failure of liners, which EPA considers inevitable as a consequence of natural deterioration.