Where to Find Resources on Managing Municipal Solid Waste
This Web page provides local government leaders, nonprofit organizations, and Texans with information that will help in the fight against litter and illegal dumping.
Many of the links on this page are provided in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF) . Find more information about PDFs and a link to get the free PDF reader here. Several links also take you off of the TCEQ website.
Planning and Funding for MSW
Managing municipal solid waste (MSW) is a cooperative effort involving federal, state, regional, and local entities. Here are some resources to help in planning and funding this effort.
This is a relatively large document (78 pages). (Read more information about reviewing this publication.) This report presents the status of solid waste management in Texas and outlines the agency's policy goals, objectives, and recommendations to consider for future solid-waste management in the state.
The TCEQ provides annual grants to the state's 24 regional councils of government (COGs). The COGs use this money to fund required activities for solid waste management and various local and regional projects that help implement the solid-waste management plans they have adopted.
The COGs can assist you with your MSW management concerns and planning. COGs also can help you in developing projects that are eligible for grant funding. For more information, contact your local COG. The Texas Association of Regional Councils lists contact information on its website .
This U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guide provides technical and economic information for solid waste management practitioners, such as local government officials, facility owners and operators, consultants, and regulatory agency specialists.
This program provides support for the financing and construction of sustainable, solid-waste infrastructure systems. Funds are available for 50 percent of the total cost of the project. Under the program, funds are limited to a maximum of $1 million per community. Multiple eligible communities may pool their grant award toward the construction of a single shared-facility. In this case, the project grant caps at $2 million. Projects must be sponsored by a public entity, located within 100 kilometers (62) miles of the U.S.–Mexico border.
- Construction of sanitary landfills, transfer stations, facilities for separating, recycling, or recovering useful material from waste, and other solid-waste management infrastructure
- Purchase of landfill and collection equipment
- Closure of existing landfills or substandard disposal sites for municipal solid waste
- Development of final design
- Construction management and supervision
Projects must receive certification from the Border Environment Cooperation Commission.
This TCEQ-sponsored program is designed to prevent or reduce pollution, enhance the quality of the environment, and contribute to public awareness of environmental matters. Funding for the SEP program comes from respondents in TCEQ enforcement actions, who are allowed to offset a fine, fee, or penalty by contributing to SEPs approved by the agency.
Battling Illegal Dumping
To successfully address illegal dumping, communities must develop long-term comprehensive solutions. See the following resources for ideas.
The TCEQ has developed a model approach for use in developing solutions for MSW issues. This model approach focuses on developing and maintaining a program that includes the following four components:
- Garbage collection services. Provide residents with convenient and affordable ways to dispose of their garbage, such as a citizen's collection station for rural communities.
- Public awareness campaigns. Increase public awareness on the health and safety hazards of illegal dumping and available legal options for garbage disposal.
- Cleanup of existing dumps. Clean up illegal dump sites to discourage other dumpers, who are attracted to these existing sites, and to improve the community's awareness of the problem.
- Enforcement. Increase public awareness about illegal dumping by raising the visibility of local illegal activities and the stiff penalties that offenders can receive.
This TCEQ guide contains information to help local officials and local governments in Texas address common issues related to waste and illegal dumping.
The EPA developed the Illegal Dumping Economic Assessment (IDEA) model. It is a simple, useful tool to help organizations understand the costs and economic impacts of illegal dumping in their communities. Local governments, community groups, and civic organizations can use the model to estimate the cost of cleanup activities, to assess indirect costs, and to conduct cost analyses using the IDEA-model spreadsheet.
The following IDEA resources are available on the EPA website:
- IDEA Model Fact Sheet
- Estimating Model User's Guide
- IDEA Cost-Estimating Model
The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) produced this study to better understand typical illegal dumpers. The publication, which was produced with TCEQ funding, provides profiles and characteristics of violations for seven categories of dumpers.
While the report was developed for the NCTCOG area, municipal governments and law enforcement officials throughout the state should find valuable strategies for targeting illegal dumpers. Also included are ideas for cooperating with other local and regional governments.
This EPA publication contains general information about illegal dumping and guidance for developing a prevention program.
The TCEQ, TxDOT, and participating local communities are working together to help prevent illegal dumping that could contaminate surface waters in Texas.
Providing Collection Services
Providing collection services is an important component in the effort to prevent illegal dumping. Resources on collection services follow.
Note: Since this is a large document (254 pages), a printed copy may be ordered rather than being downloaded. To order, call HGAC at 713-627-3200. The Houston-Galveston Area Council prepared this detailed manual to help local governments determine needs, plan facilities, evaluate regulatory requirements, and construct and operate new facilities.
This TCEQ Web page provides general information on options available to certain districts for providing garbage collection services to customers.
Contracting for Solid Waste Services
- The Houston-Galveston Area Council has many publications including guidance for local governments to prepare contracts with private companies for solid waste services. This publication is a large document, but you can order a printed copy by calling the HGAC at 713-627-3200.
- Pay-As-You-Throw Tool Kit
This EPA online resource helps local communities consider, design, and implement pay-as-you-throw programs. Included is information about unit pricing and ideas on reducing waste and recycling MSW.
- Composting Assistance Program
This TCEQ program in the Small Business and Environmental Assistance Division offers technical assistance and information on composting efforts across the state.
Increasing Public Awareness and Education
Public awareness and education are important elements of any effort to prevent illegal dumping and manage MSW. Resources on achieving these goals follow.
Quick tips to save money, time, and effort and help your community by mulching and composting.
Helps you maintain a healthy yard, save money, and take care of our state's varied landscapes.
This guide helps interpret the revised Outdoor Burning Rule, Title 30, Texas Administrative Code, Sections 111.201-211, for the general public, the regulated community, and state and local officials.
Promoting Cleanup and Proper Disposal of MSW
In addition to offering information on planning and funding for MSW, the TCEQ offers communities technical assistance for household hazardous waste collections.
Conducting household hazardous waste collections are an important way to promote proper MSW disposal at the local government and industry level. The TCEQ offers assistance to municipalities and individuals who are interested in the proper collection and disposal of HHW. Resources include: educational and regulatory information, technical assistance in setting up collection programs, contact information for existing programs, and general information on relevant issues.
This Web-based course from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is designed for the general public. It is an introduction to household hazardous materials and includes ways to protect family members from injury or death.
Understanding Environmental Crime
Understanding how to deal with environmental crime through enforcement is another important step in the battle to prevent illegal dumping and manage MSW. Following are some resources.
This Houston-Galveston Area Council's Criminal Enforcement Manual is a tool to help local communities with environmental enforcement and prosecution. This is a large document; you can order a printed copy, rather than download it, by calling the HGAC at 713-627-3200.
The TCEQ's Special Investigations unit offers technical support and criminal investigative expertise in multi-agency investigations. The agency provides resources and training to local, state, and federal law enforcement officers on criminal environmental violations. We work to increase recognition of environmental crime as a threat to public safety and to encourage and support enforcement of environmental statutes at the local level.
List of Environmental Laws
Listed below are state laws that can be used to combat environmental crimes. Each law is a link to the latest, up-to-date version that is posted on the Texas Legislature Online website.
The links below will take you off the TCEQ website. This collection is provided solely as a courtesy. Because the TCEQ has no control over the posting of material to the sites on this list, we cannot take responsibility for their continued validity and maintenance.
Health and Safety Code Chapter 343 - Abatement of Public Nuisances
Health and Safety Code Chapter 361 - Solid Waste Disposal Act
Health and Safety Code Chapter 365 - Litter
Water Code Chapter 7
- On Site Sewage Facility Violations
- Defenses Available to Person Responsible for Solid Waste Violations
- Unauthorized Discharge
- Separate Offenses
Transportation Code Chapter 683
Ordinary Misdemeanor Punishments - Penal Code
Courts and Criminal Jurisdiction - Code of Criminal Procedure
- Jurisdiction of Justice Courts
- Misdemeanor cases; precinct in which defendant to be tried in justice court
- Justice may forfeit bond
Getting Assistance from the TCEQ
Free, confidential help with questions on air, water, waste, and pollution prevention is available from the TCEQ's SBLGA section. Entirely separate from the agency's enforcement program, we offer local environmental assistance when and where it's needed. Staff is committed to communicating technical information in plain language while giving local governments and small businesses a voice in TCEQ rule and policy making.
The SBLGA section offers the following resources:
- Local Compliance Assistance Specialists located in each of the TCEQ Regional offices.
- A toll-free, confidential assistance hotline (1-800-447-2827).
- TexasEnviroHelp.org-the SBLGA section's website that provides current information on compliance requirements and regulatory updates with local governments and small business customers in mind.
- Site Assistance Visits-free compliance evaluations from an independent environmental consultant. Citizen's Collection Stations are also eligible for site visits.
- Compliance Checklists for self-evaluation of compliance status.
- EnviroMentors-volunteer environmental professionals who can assist with technical and compliance challenges.
Air Permits Section
For municipal landfills, there may be a need to get TCEQ authorization for air emissions. To get assistance and regulatory information on the kind of permits needed, call 512-239-1250.
This Web page includes links to more information on municipal landfill permitting requirements.
There may be other TCEQ publications that are not referenced on this Web page. You can view most of them online or you can order them. The TCEQ Publications Web page provides more information on searching for or ordering them.
Where can I find more information and assistance?
The TCEQ's Small Business and Local Government Assistance Section offers free, confidential help to small businesses and local governments working to comply with state environmental regulations. Call us at 800-447-2827 or visit our Web page at TexasEnviroHelp.org.