Industry Insights

New Jersey’s Legacy Landfill Law: Summary of Proposed New Rules

Proposed rules may add insurance, monitoring, reporting, permitting and additional payments to escrow accounts


Cornerstone has been following new rule proposals that codify New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s interpretation of the Legacy Landfill Law, which became effective on June 26, 2013. The rule proposes new requirements for “legacy landfills,” defined as landfills closed before Jan 1, 1982. In addition, the proposed rules have been expanded and now bring operating landfills under its jurisdiction.

The new rule definitely imposes added requirements and costs on landfill owners and operators, and possibly on certain recycling facilities. For example, NJDEP is proposing pollution liability coverage limits that would be identical to those of hazardous waste landfills. NJDEP also added monitoring, reporting, and permitting activities that require oversight and certification by a Professional Engineer.

According to our interpretation, here are some of the aspects of the NJDEP’s proposed rules that will have the most impact on operating landfills:

  • Closed cells at operating landfills will have to comply with the new rules if they are redeveloped, for example, if cover is removed to accommodate expansion; materials brought in for regrading settled areas; or if the site has to be regraded to accommodate a solar project.
  • Closed landfills, and potentially closed cells, must establish financial assurance, additional escrow accounts, and general and pollution liability insurance for these activities.
  • All activities, including placement or disposal of even soil into the facility for grading settled areas, regrading, compression, venting, construction, or installation of monitors, have to be covered under the facility’s approved Closure and Post/Closure plan. Any modifications of the plan require NJDEP approval.
  • Legacy landfills and closed sanitary landfills must receive municipal site plan approval for any activities that are not covered under the current Closure/Post-Closure Plan. Site plan approval can be waived if the municipality provides a letter stating that the activities do not require municipal approval.
  • There is a new limit for hydrogen sulfide (H2S) at, and beyond, the property boundary. The new limit is 30 parts per billion (ppb) over 30 minutes ambient. NJDEP can require H2S monitoring equipment if the 30 ppb standard is exceeded, or if NJDEP investigates an odor complaint and finds the landfill to be the odor source. It is unclear how NJDEP will enforce the 30 ppb limit.
  • From now on, all landfills will be required to submit a post-closure evaluation report covering landfill controls and surrounding properties every 10 years while in post-closure, and 2-3 years prior to the scheduled end of the closure period. NJDEP will then determine if another 10-year period is necessary.

Of course, there are many other features of the proposed regulations – and some of these may also affect operations. For example, any change of ownership or transfer of a controlling interest in the stock or assets of any entity owning or operating a sanitary landfill  will require owners have to modify the Closure/Post-Closure Plan.

We will keep our New Jersey clients up to date on any new information or clarifications we learn during the comment period. In the meantime, we would welcome your questions and comments directly.


Contact Daryl O’Dell if you have any thoughts or concerns, or need more information on what the LLL might mean to your specific facility.