EPA reaches settlement on landfill in Puerto Rico

Agreement includes upgrade to site, as well as implementation of recycling program.

June 23, 2014
Recycling Today Staff

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached a legal settlement with Landfill Technologies, located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, as well as the municipality of Arecibo and the Puerto Rico Land Authority to settle alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. As part of the settlement, the landfill’s owners and operators have agreed to make upgrades to the landfill and the Caño Tiburones, an environmentally-sensitive wetland and natural reserve adjacent to the landfill.

Under the agreement, Landfill Technologies and the municipality of Arecibo will fund and implement a recycling program in the city and continue to collect and treat non-methane compounds from its landfill gas collection system, which will reduce methane emissions.

In addition, Landfill Technologies agreed to pay a $250,000 penalty and the Puerto Rico Land Authority and Arecibo will each pay $50,000 in penalties.

Under the settlement terms, the landfill operators have agreed to implement a comprehensive recycling program, as well as a composting program designed to compost agricultural and yard waste. Landfill Technologies will provide the municipality a collection and compacting vehicle and 21,000 14-gallon collection bins to be distributed to households for curbside recycling.

Meanwhile, Arecibo will establish recycling collection centers in areas of the municipality where there is no curbside collection. Arecibo will also implement an education and community outreach program to be funded by annual, $10,000 payments over an 11-year period by Landfill Technologies.

The landfill operators have agreed to make improvements at the landfill, including the implementation of additional flood protection measures, ground water monitoring improvements, stormwater runoff controls, leachate controls, the removal of junked autos and other targeted waste from nearby wetlands, and the implementation of a plan to properly fund closure of the landfill once it reaches capacity.

Landfill Technologies is currently using the methane being collected to generate electricity. This system, the first of its kind in Puerto Rico, supplies power for facility operations at the landfill. The landfill's operators are working with PREPA to connect the system to the Commonwealth electric grid.