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Solid Waste Management Program

About the Program

Responsibilities established by law

Federal law  In 1965, U.S. Congress passed the Solid Waste Disposal Act to protect the environment from waste, conserve energy, reduce the amount of waste generated and ensure wastes were managed in an environmentally-sound manner. In 1976, Congress updated the Act with by passing the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA). This legislation gave U.S. EPA more ability to control waste. Subtitle D of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) addresses non-hazardous solid wastes, including certain hazardous wastes, which are exempted from the Subtitle C regulations such as: hazardous wastes from households and from conditionally exempt small quantity generators. Subtitle D also includes garbage (milk containers, coffee grounds), non-recycled household appliances, the residue from incinerated automobile tires, refuse such as metal scrap, wall board and empty containers, and sludge from industrial and municipal waste water and water treatment plants and from pollution control facilities.

Congress intended via RCRA Subtitle D that permitting and monitoring of municipal and non-
hazardous waste landfills shall be a State/Territory responsibility. RCRA does not authorize EPA
to issue Federal permits for disposal of Subtitle D wastes.

Under Subtitle D, the state and local governments are the primary planning, permitting, regulating, implementing, and enforcement agencies for management and disposal of household and industrial or commercial non-hazardous solid wastes. EPA establishes technical design and operating criteria for disposal facilities. Also, per Subtitle D, EPA must determine the adequacy (approval status) of the State permit programs.

EPA’s minimum national technical criteria (regulations) include specific requirements for location, operation, design (liner, leachate collection, run-off controls, etc), groundwater monitoring, corrective action, closure and post-closure care, and financial assurance
responsibility. The primary regulations are found in 40 CFR Part 257 and Part 258 of the Code of Federal Regulations. EPA has also issued regulations under the Clean Air Act that apply to emissions from very large landfills, and certain EPA criteria issued under the Clean Water Act may apply.

Local mandates Solid waste has been regulated in Guam since 1974. The law directing the government to manage solid waste has changed multiple times, including in 1998 when the Solid Waste Management Program was created out of the Solid and Hazardous Waste Program. The program continues today and is responsible for permitting solid waste collection and treatment, storage, and disposal facilities.

In 1996, the Solid Waste Management and Litter Control Act was updated. The changes strengthened Guam EPA’s authority to impose administrative penalties for solid and hazardous waste management violations and defined civil versus criminal penalties. The revised Act provided provisions for citizen suits, established permit fees for certain solid waste activities, and created a Solid Waste Management Fund to support activities to effectuate the Act, which includes paying for full-time employees and related expenses. Aside from the Fund, the Program’s activities are supported by the Litter Revolving Fund which was created to be used primarily for anti-littering campaigns.

On August 24, 1998, Guam applied for a determination of adequacy to EPA of its municipal solid waste landfill permit program under section 4005 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. This section requires States and Territories to develop and implement permit programs that insure that Municipal Solid Waste Landfills, which may receive hazardous household waste or small quantity generator wastes, are obligated to comply with the revised Federal MSWLF Criteria (40 CFR Part 258). On May 23, 2000, EPA issued a Notice of Final Determination of Adequacy of Guam’s Municipal Solid Waste Landfill Permit Program (FR: June 6, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 109, pp 35927-35928). Effective June 6, 2000, Guam was granted full program determination for all areas of its municipal solid waste program.

This is one of the most important programs in terms of protecting Guam’s natural resources. Solid waste can be a major pollutant and given Guam’s small land area and limited water resources, solid waste must be managed properly to protect the island.

Elements of the Program


The Solid Waste Management Program is responsible for issuing permits for the collection, transfer, processing, and hardfilling of solid waste.

This program is also responsible for developing and overseeing the implementation of the Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan. To review public notices for permits, the Management Plan and other documents produced by this program please visit our Public Information page.


Reducing the amount of solid waste going into the landfill is critical to extending the life of the facility. Recycling is a key component of reducing the amount of trash headed for the landfill. The Solid Waste Program educates and promotes recycling for all homes, businesses and facilities in Guam. For more information about how you can recycle visit our education page.

The program is a lead participant in the Guam Recycling Measurement Workgroup sponsored by EPA. The purpose of the Workgroup is obtain baseline measurements for disposal and recycling on Guam, share current reuse, recycling, and disposal measurement practices in Guam and share ideas in data collection and community involvement opportunities.

Abandoned Vehicle Program

Per Public Law 29-116, Guam EPA administers the Recycling Revolving Fund, which is utilized to remove priority recyclables, such as junk vehicles, large white goods, loose tires and metals at the grassroots level. This program is being conducted in partnership with Mayors’s Council of Guam (MCOG).

Zero Waste Initiative

Through funding from the Office of Economic Adjustment, a Zero Waste Alternative Analysis & Implementation Plan will be developed by FY 2012. The project, which was proposed in a collaborative effort between Guam EPA and U.S. EPA, will consolidate baseline measurement data
on solid waste, analyze alternative and viable zero waste management pathways for beneficial use activities and include impacts to human health and environment impacts (including landfill diversion potential), job creation potential and estimated economic costs with transparent calculations of capital and operational costs. The completion of the project is expected to yield draft legislation that is in line with the implementation strategies, models for a solid waste management measurement system and identify a proposed strategy to implement a comprehensive Zero Waste Plan.

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