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Title 40Chapter ISubchapter IPart 257 → Subpart A


Title 40: Protection of Environment
PART 257—CRITERIA FOR CLASSIFICATION OF SOLID WASTE DISPOSAL FACILITIES AND PRACTICES


Subpart A—Classification of Solid Waste Disposal Facilities and Practices


Contents
§257.1   Scope and purpose.
§257.2   Definitions.
§257.3   Criteria for classification of solid waste disposal facilities and practices.
§257.3-1   Floodplains.
§257.3-2   Endangered species.
§257.3-3   Surface water.
§257.3-4   Ground water.
§257.3-5   Application to land used for the production of food-chain crops (interim final).
§257.3-6   Disease.
§257.3-7   Air.
§257.3-8   Safety.
§257.4   Effective date.

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§257.1   Scope and purpose.

(a) Unless otherwise provided, the criteria in §§257.1 through 257.4 are adopted for determining which solid waste disposal facilities and practices pose a reasonable probability of adverse effects on health or the environment under sections 1008(a)(3) and 4004(a) of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (The Act). Unless otherwise provided, the criteria in §§257.5 through 257.30 are adopted for purposes of ensuring that non-municipal non-hazardous waste disposal units that receive very small quantity generator (VSQG) waste do not present risks to human health and the environment taking into account the practicable capability of such units in accordance with section 4010(c) of the Act. Unless otherwise provided, the criteria in §§257.50 through 257.107 are adopted for determining which CCR landfills and CCR surface impoundments pose a reasonable probability of adverse effects on health or the environment under sections 1008(a)(3) and 4004(a) of the Act.

(1) Facilities failing to satisfy any of the criteria in §§257.1 through 257.4 or §§257.5 through 257.30 or §§257.50 through 257.107 are considered open dumps, which are prohibited under section 4005 of the Act.

(2) Practices failing to satisfy any of the criteria in §§257.1 through 257.4 or §§257.5 through 257.30 or §§257.50 through 257.107 constitute open dumping, which is prohibited under section 4005 of the Act.

(b) These criteria also provide guidelines for the disposal of sewage sludge on the land when the sewage sludge is not used or disposed through a practice regulated in 40 CFR part 503.

(c) These criteria apply to all solid waste disposal facilities and practices with the following exceptions:

(1) The criteria do not apply to agricultural wastes, including manures and crop residues, returned to the soil as fertilizers or soil conditioners.

(2) The criteria do not apply to overburden resulting from mining operations intended for return to the mine site.

(3) The criteria do not apply to the land application of domestic sewage or treated domestic sewage.

(4) The criteria do not apply to the location and operation of septic tanks. The criteria do, however, apply to the disposal of septic tank pumpings.

(5) The criteria do not apply to solid or dissolved materials in irrigation return flows.

(6) The criteria do not apply to industrial discharges which are point sources subject to permits under section 402 of the Clean Water Act, as amended.

(7) The criteria do not apply to source, special nuclear or byproduct material as defined by the Atomic Energy Act, as amended (68 Stat. 923).

(8) The criteria do not apply to hazardous waste disposal facilities which are subject to regulation under subtitle C of the Act.

(9) The criteria do not apply to disposal of solid waste by underground well injection subject to the regulations (40 CFR part 146) for the Underground Injection Control Program (UICP) under the Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 3007 et seq.

(10) The criteria of this part do not apply to municipal solid waste landfill units, which are subject to the revised criteria contained in part 258 of this chapter.

(11) The criteria do not apply to the use or disposal sewage sludge on the land when the sewage sludge is used or disposed in accordance with 40 CFR part 503.

(12) Except as otherwise specifically provided in subpart D of this part, the criteria in subpart A of this part do not apply to CCR landfills, CCR surface impoundments, and lateral expansions of CCR units, as those terms are defined in subpart D of this part. Such units are instead subject to subpart D of this part.

[44 FR 53460, Sept. 13, 1979, as amended at 46 FR 47052, Sept. 23, 1981; 56 FR 51016, Oct. 9, 1991; 58 FR 9385, Feb. 19, 1993; 61 FR 34269, July 1, 1996; 80 FR 21467, Apr. 17, 2015; 81 FR 85804, Nov. 28, 2016]

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§257.2   Definitions.

The definitions set forth in section 1004 of the Act apply to this part. Special definitions of general concern to this part are provided below, and definitions especially pertinent to particular sections of this part are provided in those sections.

CCR landfill means an area of land or an excavation that receives CCR and which is not a surface impoundment, an underground injection well, a salt dome formation, a salt bed formation, an underground or surface coal mine, or a cave. For purposes of this subpart, a CCR landfill also includes sand and gravel pits and quarries that receive CCR, CCR piles, and any practice that does not meet the definition of a beneficial use of CCR.

CCR surface impoundment means a natural topographic depression, man-made excavation, or diked area, which is designed to hold an accumulation of CCR and liquids, and the unit treats, stores, or disposes of CCR.

Construction and demolition (C&D) landfill means a solid waste disposal facility subject to the requirements of subparts A or B of this part that receives construction and demolition waste and does not receive hazardous waste (defined in §261.3 of this chapter) or industrial solid waste (defined in §258.2 of this chapter). Only a C&D landfill that meets the requirements of subpart B of this part may receive very small quantity generator waste (defined in §260.10 of this chapter). A C&D landfill typically receives any one or more of the following types of solid wastes: Roadwork material, excavated material, demolition waste, construction/renovation waste, and site clearance waste.

Disposal means the discharge, deposit, injection, dumping, spilling, leaking, or placing of any solid waste or hazardous waste into or on any land or water so that such solid waste or hazardous waste or any constituent thereof may enter the environment or be emitted into the air or discharged into any waters, including ground waters.

Domestic septage is either liquid or solid material removed from a septic tank, cesspool, portable toilet, Type III marine sanitation device, or similar treatment works that receives only domestic sewage. Domestic septage does not include liquid or solid material removed from a septic tank, cesspool, or similar treatment works that receives either commercial wastewater or industrial wastewater and does not include grease removed from a grease trap at a restaurant.

Facility means all contiguous land and structures, other appurtenances, and improvements on the land used for the disposal of solid waste.

Land application unit means an area where wastes are applied onto or incorporated into the soil surface (excluding manure spreading operations) for agricultural purposes or for treatment and disposal.

Landfill means an area of land or an excavation in which wastes are placed for permanent disposal, and that is not a land application unit, surface impoundment, injection well, or waste pile.

Leachate means liquid that has passed through or emerged from solid waste and contains soluble, suspended or miscible materials removed from such wastes.

Municipal solid waste landfill (MSWLF) unit means a discrete area of land or an excavation that receives household waste, and that is not a land application unit, surface impoundment, injection well, or waste pile, as those terms are defined in this section. A MSWLF unit also may receive other types of RCRA Subtitle D wastes, such as commercial solid waste, nonhazardous sludge, and industrial solid waste. Such a landfill may be publicly or privately owned. A MSWLF unit may be a new MSWLF unit, an existing MSWLF unit or a lateral expansion. A construction and demolition landfill that receives residential lead-based paint waste and does not receive any other household waste is not a MSWLF unit.

Open dump means a facility for the disposal of solid waste which does not comply with this part.

Practice means the act of disposal of solid waste.

Residential lead-based paint waste means waste containing lead-based paint, which is generated as a result of activities such as abatement, rehabilitation, renovation and remodeling in homes and other residences. The term residential lead-based paint waste includes, but is not limited to, lead-based paint debris, chips, dust, and sludges.

Sanitary landfill means a facility for the disposal of solid waste which complies with this part.

Sewage sludge means solid, semi-solid, or liquid residue generated during the treatment of domestic sewage in a treatment works. Sewage sludge includes, but is not limited to, domestic septage; scum or solids removed in primary, secondary, or advanced wastewater treatment processes; and a material derived from sewage sludge. Sewage sludge does not include ash generated during the firing of sewage sludge in a sewage sludge incinerator or grit and screenings generated during preliminary treatment of domestic sewage in a treatment works.

Sludge means any solid, semisolid, or liquid waste generated from a municipal, commercial, or industrial wastewater treatment plant, water supply treatment plant, or air pollution control facility or any other such waste having similar characteristics and effect.

Solid waste means any garbage, refuse, sludge from a waste treatment plant, water supply treatment plant, or air pollution control facility and other discarded material, including solid, liquid, semisolid, or contained gaseous material resulting from industrial, commercial, mining, and agricultural operations, and from community activities, but does not include solid or dissolved materials in domestic sewage, or solid or dissolved material in irrigation return flows or industrial discharges which are point sources subject to permits under section 402 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended (86 Stat. 880), or source, special nuclear, or byproduct material as defined by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (68 Stat. 923).

State means any of the several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Surface impoundment or impoundment means a facility or part of a facility that is a natural topographic depression, human-made excavation, or diked area formed primarily of earthen materials (although it may be lined with human-made materials), that is designed to hold an accumulation of liquid wastes or wastes containing free liquids and that is not an injection well. Examples of surface impoundments are holding storage, settling, and aeration pits, ponds, and lagoons.

Waste pile or pile means any noncontainerized accumulation of solid, nonflowing waste that is used for treatment or storage.

[44 FR 53460, Sept. 13, 1979; 44 FR 58910, Oct. 12, 1979; 56 FR 51016, Oct. 9, 1991; 58 FR 9385, Feb. 19, 1993; 68 FR 36495, June 18, 2003; 81 FR 85804, Nov. 28, 2016]

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§257.3   Criteria for classification of solid waste disposal facilities and practices.

Solid waste disposal facilities or practices which violate any of the following criteria pose a reasonable probability of adverse effects on health or the environment:

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§257.3-1   Floodplains.

(a) Facilities or practices in floodplains shall not restrict the flow of the base flood, reduce the temporary water storage capacity of the floodplain, or result in washout of solid waste, so as to pose a hazard to human life, wildlife, or land or water resources.

(b) As used in this section:

(1) Based flood means a flood that has a 1 percent or greater chance of recurring in any year or a flood of a magnitude equalled or exceeded once in 100 years on the average over a significantly long period.

(2) Floodplain means the lowland and relatively flat areas adjoining inland and coastal waters, including flood-prone areas of offshore islands, which are inundated by the base flood.

(3) Washout means the carrying away of solid waste by waters of the base flood.

[44 FR 53460, Sept. 13, 1979; 44 FR 54708, Sept. 21, 1979]

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§257.3-2   Endangered species.

(a) Facilities or practices shall not cause or contribute to the taking of any endangered or threatened species of plants, fish, or wildlife.

(b) The facility or practice shall not result in the destruction or adverse modification of the critical habitat of endangered or threatened species as identified in 50 CFR part 17.

(c) As used in this section:

(1) Endangered or threatened species means any species listed as such pursuant to section 4 of the Endangered Species Act.

(2) Destruction or adverse modification means a direct or indirect alteration of critical habitat which appreciably diminishes the likelihood of the survival and recovery of threatened or endangered species using that habitat.

(3) Taking means harassing, harming, pursuing, hunting, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing, or collecting or attempting to engage in such conduct.

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§257.3-3   Surface water.

(a) For purposes of section 4004(a) of the Act, a facility shall not cause a discharge of pollutants into waters of the United States that is in violation of the requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) under section 402 of the Clean Water Act, as amended.

(b) For purposes of section 4004(a) of the Act, a facility shall not cause a discharge of dredged material or fill material to waters of the United States that is in violation of the requirements under section 404 of the Clean Water Act, as amended.

(c) A facility or practice shall not cause non-point source pollution of waters of the United States that violates applicable legal requirements implementing an areawide or Statewide water quality management plan that has been approved by the Administrator under section 208 of the Clean Water Act, as amended.

(d) Definitions of the terms Discharge of dredged material, Point source, Pollutant, Waters of the United States, and Wetlands can be found in the Clean Water Act, as amended, 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq., and implementing regulations, specifically 33 CFR part 323 (42 FR 37122, July 19, 1977).

[44 FR 53460, Sept. 13, 1979, as amended at 46 FR 47052, Sept. 23, 1981]

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§257.3-4   Ground water.

(a) A facility or practice shall not contaminate an underground drinking water source beyond the solid waste boundary or beyond an alternative boundary specified in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section.

(b)(1) For purposes of section 1008(a)(3) of the Act or section 405(d) of the CWA, a party charged with open dumping or a violation of section 405(e) with respect to sewage sludge that is not used or disposed through a practice regulated in 40 CFR part 503 may demonstrate that compliance should be determined at an alternative boundary in lieu of the solid waste boundary. The court shall establish an alternative boundary only if it finds that such a change would not result in contamination of ground water which may be needed or used for human consumption. This finding shall be based on analysis and consideration of all of the following factors that are relevant:

(i) The hydrogeological characteristics of the facility and surrounding land, including any natural attenuation and dilution characteristics of the aquifer;

(ii) The volume and physical and chemical characteristics of the leachate;

(iii) The quantity, quality, and direction of flow of ground water underlying the facility;

(iv) The proximity and withdrawal rates of ground-water users;

(v) The availability of alternative drinking water supplies;

(vi) The existing quality of the ground water, including other sources of contamination and their cumulative impacts on the ground water;

(vii) Public health, safety, and welfare effects.

(2) For purposes of sections 4004(a) and 1008(a)(3), the State may establish an alternative boundary for a facility to be used in lieu of the solid waste boundary only if it finds that such a change would not result in the contamination of ground water which may be needed or used for human consumption. Such a finding shall be based on an analysis and consideration of all of the factors identified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section that are relevant.

(c) As used in this section:

(1) Aquifer means a geologic formation, group of formations, or portion of a formation capable of yielding usable quantities of ground water to wells or springs.

(2) Contaminate means introduce a substance that would cause:

(i) The concentration of that substance in the ground water to exceed the maximum contaminant level specified in appendix I, or

(ii) An increase in the concentration of that substance in the ground water where the existing concentration of that substance exceeds the maximum contaminant level specified in appendix I.

(3) Ground water means water below the land surface in the zone of saturation.

(4) Underground drinking water source means:

(i) An aquifer supplying drinking water for human consumption, or

(ii) An aquifer in which the ground water contains less than 10,000 mg/1 total dissolved solids.

(5) Solid waste boundary means the outermost perimeter of the solid waste (projected in the horizontal plane) as it would exist at completion of the disposal activity.

[44 FR 53460, Sept. 13, 1979, as amended at 46 FR 47052, Sept. 23, 1981; 58 FR 9386, Feb. 19, 1993]

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§257.3-5   Application to land used for the production of food-chain crops (interim final).

(a) Cadmium. A facility or practice concerning application of solid waste to within one meter (three feet) of the surface of land used for the production of food-chain crops shall not exist or occur, unless in compliance with all requirements of paragraphs (a)(1) (i) through (iii) of this section or all requirements of paragraphs (a)(2) (i) through (iv) of this section.

(1)(i) The pH of the solid waste and soil mixture is 6.5 or greater at the time of each solid waste application, except for solid waste containing cadmium at concentrations of 2 mg/kg (dry weight) or less.

(ii) The annual application of cadmium from solid waste does not exceed 0.5 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha) on land used for production of tobacco, leafy vegetables or root crops grown for human consumption. For other food-chain crops, the annual cadmium application rate does not exceed:

Time periodAnnual Cd application rate (kg/ha)
Present to June 30, 19842.0
July 1, 1984 to December 31, 19861.25
Beginning January 1, 19870.5

(iii) The cumulative application of cadmium from solid waste does not exceed the levels in either paragraph (a)(1)(iii)(A) or (B) of this section.

(A)

Soil cation exchange capacity (meq/100g)Maximum cumulative application (kg/ha)
Background soil pH less than 6.5Background soil pH more than 6.5
Less than 555
5 to 15510
More than 15520

(B) For soils with a background pH of less than 6.5, the cumulative cadmium application rate does not exceed the levels below: Provided, That the pH of the solid waste and soil mixture is adjusted to and maintained at 6.5 or greater whenever food-chain crops are grown.

Soil cation exchange capacity (meq/100g)Maximum cumulative application (kg/ha)
Less than 55
5 to 1510
More than 1520

(2)(i) The only food-chain crop produced is animal feed.

(ii) The pH of the solid waste and soil mixture is 6.5 or greater at the time of solid waste application or at the time the crop is planted, whichever occurs later, and this pH level is maintained whenever food-chain crops are grown.

(iii) There is a facility operating plan which demonstrates how the animal feed will be distributed to preclude ingestion by humans. The facility operating plan describes the measures to be taken to safeguard against possible health hazards from cadmium entering the food chain, which may result from alternative land uses.

(iv) Future property owners are notified by a stipulation in the land record or property deed which states that the property has received solid waste at high cadmium application rates and that food-chain crops should not be grown, due to a possible health hazard.

(b) Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs). Solid waste containing concentrations of PCBs equal to or greater than 10 mg/kg (dry weight) is incorporated into the soil when applied to land used for producing animal feed, including pasture crops for animals raised for milk. Incorporation of the solid waste into the soil is not required if it is assured that the PCB content is less than 0.2 mg/kg (actual weight) in animal feed or less than 1.5 mg/kg (fat basis) in milk.

(c) As used in this section:

(1) Animal feed means any crop grown for consumption by animals, such as pasture crops, forage, and grain.

(2) Background soil pH means the pH of the soil prior to the addition of substances that alter the hydrogen ion concentration.

(3) Cation exchange capacity means the sum of exchangeable cations a soil can absorb expressed in milli-equivalents per 100 grams of soil as determined by sampling the soil to the depth of cultivation or solid waste placement, whichever is greater, and analyzing by the summation method for distinctly acid soils or the sodium acetate method for neutral, calcareous or saline soils (“Methods of Soil Analysis, Agronomy Monograph No. 9.” C. A. Black, ed., American Society of Agronomy, Madison, Wisconsin. pp 891-901, 1965).

(4) Food-chain crops means tobacco, crops grown for human consumption, and animal feed for animals whose products are consumed by humans.

(5) Incorporated into the soil means the injection of solid waste beneath the surface of the soil or the mixing of solid waste with the surface soil.

(6) Pasture crops means crops such as legumes, grasses, grain stubble and stover which are consumed by animals while grazing.

(7) pH means the logarithm of the reciprocal of hydrogen ion concentration.

(8) Root crops means plants whose edible parts are grown below the surface of the soil.

(9) Soil pH is the value obtained by sampling the soil to the depth of cultivation or solid waste placement, whichever is greater, and analyzing by the electrometric method. (“Methods of Soil Analysis, Agronomy Monograph No. 9,” C.A. Black, ed., American Society of Agronomy, Madison, Wisconsin, pp. 914-926, 1965.)

[44 FR 53460, Sept. 13, 1979; 44 FR 54708, Sept. 21, 1979]

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§257.3-6   Disease.

(a) Disease Vectors. The facility or practice shall not exist or occur unless the on-site population of disease vectors is minimized through the periodic application of cover material or other techniques as appropriate so as to protect public health.

(b) Sewage sludge and septic tank pumpings (Interim Final). A facility or practice involving disposal of sewage sludge or septic tank pumpings shall not exist or occur unless in compliance with paragraphs (b) (1), (2) or (3) of this section.

(1) Sewage sludge that is applied to the land surface or is incorporated into the soil is treated by a Process to Significantly Reduce Pathogens prior to application or incorporation. Public access to the facility is controlled for at least 12 months, and grazing by animals whose products are consumed by humans is prevented for at least one month. Processes to Significantly Reduce Pathogens are listed in appendix II, section A. (These provisions do not apply to sewage sludge disposed of by a trenching or burial operation.)

(2) Septic tank pumpings that are applied to the land surface or incorporated into the soil are treated by a Process to Significantly Reduce Pathogens (as listed in appendix II, section A), prior to application or incorporation, unless public access to the facility is controlled for at least 12 months and unless grazing by animals whose products are consumed by humans is prevented for at least one month. (These provisions do not apply to septic tank pumpings disposed of by a trenching or burial operation.)

(3) Sewage sludge or septic tank pumpings that are applied to the land surface or are incorporated into the soil are treated by a Process to Further Reduce Pathogens, prior to application or incorporation, if crops for direct human consumption are grown within 18 months subsequent to application or incorporation. Such treatment is not required if there is no contact between the solid waste and the edible portion of the crop; however, in this case the solid waste is treated by a Process to Significantly Reduce Pathogens, prior to application; public access to the facility is controlled for at least 12 months; and grazing by animals whose products are consumed by humans is prevented for at least one month. If crops for direct human consumption are not grown within 18 months of application or incorporation, the requirements of paragraphs (b) (1) and (2) of this section apply. Processes to Further Reduce Pathogens are listed in appendix II, section B.

(c) As used in this section:

(1) Crops for direct human consumption means crops that are consumed by humans without processing to minimize pathogens prior to distribution to the consumer.

(2) Disease vector means rodents, flies, and mosquitoes capable of transmitting disease to humans.

(3) Incorporated into the soil means the injection of solid waste beneath the surface of the soil or the mixing of solid waste with the surface soil.

(4) Periodic application of cover material means the application and compaction of soil or other suitable material over disposed solid waste at the end of each operating day or at such frequencies and in such a manner as to reduce the risk of fire and to impede vectors access to the waste.

(5) Trenching or burial operation means the placement of sewage sludge or septic tank pumpings in a trench or other natural or man-made depression and the covering with soil or other suitable material at the end of each operating day such that the wastes do not migrate to the surface.

[44 FR 53460, Sept. 13, 1979; 44 FR 54708, Sept. 21, 1979]

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§257.3-7   Air.

(a) The facility or practice shall not engage in open burning of residential, commercial, institutional or industrial solid waste. This requirement does not apply to infrequent burning of agricultural wastes in the field, silvicultural wastes for forest management purposes, land-clearing debris, diseased trees, debris from emergency clean-up operations, and ordnance.

(b) For purposes of section 4004(a) of the Act, the facility shall not violate applicable requirements developed under a State Implementation Plan (SIP) approved or promulgated by the Administrator pursuant to section 110 of the Clean Air Act, as amended.

(c) As used in this section “open burning” means the combustion of solid waste without (1) control of combustion air to maintain adequate temperature for efficient combustion, (2) containment of the combustion reaction in an enclosed device to provide sufficient residence time and mixing for complete combustion, and (3) control of the emission of the combustion products.

[44 FR 53460, Sept. 13, 1979; 44 FR 54708, Sept. 21, 1979, as amended at 46 FR 47052, Sept. 23, 1981]

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§257.3-8   Safety.

(a) Explosive gases. The concentration of explosive gases generated by the facility or practice shall not exceed:

(1) Twenty-five percent (25%) of the lower explosive limit for the gases in facility structures (excluding gas control or recovery system components); and

(2) The lower explosive limit for the gases at the property boundary.

(b) Fires. A facility or practice shall not pose a hazard to the safety of persons or property from fires. This may be accomplished through compliance with §257.3-7 and through the periodic application of cover material or other techniques as appropriate.

(c) Bird hazards to aircraft. A facility or practice disposing of putrescible wastes that may attract birds and which occurs within 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) of any airport runway used by turbojet aircraft or within 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) of any airport runway used by only piston-type aircraft shall not pose a bird hazard to aircraft.

(d) Access. A facility or practice shall not allow uncontrolled public access so as to expose the public to potential health and safety hazards at the disposal site.

(e) As used in this section:

(1) Airport means public-use airport open to the public without prior permission and without restrictions within the physical capacities of available facilities.

(2) Bird hazard means an increase in the likelihood of bird/aircraft collisions that may cause damage to the aircraft or injury to its occupants.

(3) Explosive gas means methane (CH4).

(4) Facility structures means any buildings and sheds or utility or drainage lines on the facility.

(5) Lower explosive limit means the lowest percent by volume of a mixture of explosive gases which will propagate a flame in air at 25 °C and atmospheric pressure.

(6) Periodic application of cover material means the application and compaction of soil or other suitable material over disposed solid waste at the end of each operating day or at such frequencies and in such a manner as to reduce the risk of fire and to impede disease vectors' access to the waste.

(7) Putrescible wastes means solid waste which contains organic matter capable of being decomposed by microorganisms and of such a character and proportion as to be capable of attracting or providing food for birds.

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§257.4   Effective date.

These criteria become effective October 15, 1979.

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