Areas of Practice

Across the spectrum of environmental law, we offer advice and representation with practical, results-oriented lawyering in the following practice areas...
Category: Areas of Practice

Solid waste disposal has become a critical issue as available capacity in existing landfills continues to shrink. The state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) is responsible for producing a state-wide plan for the disposal of solid waste as a policy document on which to base regulations. State regulations designed to protect groundwater and other environmental resources make finding suitable sites for waste disposal quite difficult.

One alternative to burying wastes is resource recovery, a process that bums solid waste to produce steam or electricity. Another is recycling and reuse, which the state has promoted for years. Recently the state has begun in earnest to divert organic materials from the waste stream.

We work for clients on matters from the siting and licensing of solid waste facilities, to enforcement affecting business owners, facility operators, and waste haulers, to investors seeking the opportunities in the new rules and programs.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), in cooperation with the Department of Public Health (DPH), is responsible for establishing rules and regulations for siting of landfills, refuse transfer stations, resource recovery plants, refuse composting plants, and other facilities for the storage, treatment or final disposal of waste. Landfills, for example, cannot be located in or near wetlands, in areas prone to flooding, or in proximity to either public or private water supplies.

DEP issues regulations to prevent air, land, and water pollution in or near landfills, incinerators, and solid waste transfer stations, and requires that such conditions be abated when and where they occur. An order to close a landfill may relate as much, if not more, to protection concerns (e.g., proximity to a water source or potential source) as to the landfill's capacity and/or operation. G.L. c. 111, §150A.

DEP’s Division of Solid Waste along with local boards of health determines site suitability of solid waste facilities such as public or private landfills, incinerators, recycling and transfer stations. It regulates operation of these as well as transporters, materials recovery, waste disposal and old dumps.
DEP may clean up solid waste disposal facilities and recover costs from responsible parties. G.L. c.21H, §§1-8; c.111, §§150A-B.

DEP issued a Solid Waste Master Plan to address waste management waste reduction and waste diversion, with a strong emphasis on municipal recycling programs to reduce the amount of waste which must be transported to landfills, or incinerated. The state also works with industry groups to build markets for recycled products. DEP has assisted many communities in promoting increased recycling of household waste.

The board of health is required to approve the sites for solid waste disposal facilities, under G.L. c.111, §150A, and likewise hazardous waste facilities, under G.L. c.111, §150B.  A board permit is needed for transportation of garbage, or other offensive substances, through town streets. G.L. c.111, §31A.

The proper collection, transportation, handling, recycling, treatment or disposal of solid waste, especially for the purposes of resource recovery, composting and energy generation, interest us as environmental attorneys who appreciate the laws and policies governing this field. We are at your disposal.

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