Resources on Managing Municipal Solid Waste
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Planning and Funding for Municipal Solid Waste
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.
- Municipal Solid Waste in Texas: A Year in Review – Each year the TCEQ publishes an annual summary of the MSW reports submitted by owners and operators of MSW landfills and other waste management facilities (TCEQ publication AS-187).
- Regional Grants for Solid Waste Management – The TCEQ provides annual grants to the state's 24 regional councils of government (COGs). The COGs use this money to fund local governments’ activities for solid waste management projects that help implement the regional solid-waste management plans.
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.
- Decision Makers' Guide to Solid Waste Management – 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.
- North American Development Bank Community Assistance Program – The North American Development Bank’s Community Assistance Program (CAP) administers infrastructure grants for public projects in all environmental sectors, including solid waste. The project sponsor must contribute at least 10% of the total project cost in the form of cash. Projects must be sponsored by a public entity and located within 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the U.S.–Mexico border.
- Projects must receive certification from the Border Environment Cooperation Commission.
- Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) – 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.
- Local governments that are in enforcement may be able to apply for a special compliance SEP or C-SEP to come into compliance with environmental laws or to remediate the harm caused by those violations. The requirements for a C-SEP are available online.
Battling Illegal Dumping
To successfully address illegal dumping, communities must develop long-term comprehensive solutions.
The TCEQ has developed a model approach for use in developing solutions for MSW issues. This 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 citizen's collection stations for rural communities.
- Public awareness. Increase public awareness on the health and safety hazards of illegal dumping and available legal options for garbage disposal. Keep Texas Beautiful has several suggestions to assist with clean up events and other methods of raising public awareness.
- 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.
- Prevent Illegal Dumping: A Guide for Local Governments (RG-455) – This TCEQ guide contains information to help local officials and local governments in Texas address common issues related to waste and illegal dumping.
- Illegal Dumping Prevention Guidebook (EPA; 1998) – Although published in 1998, this guide not only explores the nature of the problem but provides the steps for an integrated approach to preventing illegal dumping. Not all websites in this document are current or active.
- Targeted Illegal Dumper Study – The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) produced this 2001 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, other governmental and law enforcement officials may find valuable strategies for targeting illegal dumpers. Also included are ideas for cooperating with other local and regional governments.
- Don’t Mess with Texas Water Program – The TCEQ, TxDOT, and participating local communities are working together to help prevent illegal dumping that could contaminate surface waters in Texas.
MSW Collection and Other Services
- Managing Municipal Solid Waste Through General and Special Law Districts – This TCEQ Web page provides general information on options available to certain districts for providing garbage collection services to customers.
- 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.
- Recycling – The TCEQ encourages reuse and recycling whenever practical. This website provides information to help you do your part.
- Composting – This page offers technical assistance and information on composting efforts across the state.
- Monofills - This TCEQ Web page provides information for small counties and municipalities with a population of 12,000 people or less to dispose of nuisance or abandoned buildings under a permit by rule (PBR) provided specific conditions are met.
Public Awareness and Education
Public awareness and education are important elements of any effort to increase public participation and manage MSW. Resources on achieving these goals follow.
- Mulching and Composting: A Take Care of Texas Guide (GI-036) – Quick tips to save money, time, and effort and help your community by mulching and composting.
- Take Care of Texas Guide to Yard Care (GI-028) – Helps you maintain a healthy yard, save money, and take care of our state's varied landscapes.
- Outdoor Burning in Texas (RG-049) – This guide helps interpret the Outdoor Burning Rule, Title 30, Texas Administrative Code, Sections 111.201-211, for the general public, the regulated community, and state and local officials.
Household Hazardous Waste
In addition to offering information on planning and funding for MSW, the TCEQ offers communities technical assistance for household hazardous waste collections.
- Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) – This website explains what HHW is, what you can do with it, and who can accept it. There are also links to the HHW Program Assistance page and Program Contacts.
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.
- How to Establish an Environmental Enforcement Program – 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.
- TCEQ Special Investigations – 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.
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.
- 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 - Enforcement
- Transportation Code Chapter 683 – Junk Vehicles
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.