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Municipal Solid Waste Permits: Learning More

Learn more about following our progress and your options for participating as we review applications for municipal solid waste (MSW) facility permits. Find out how a permitted facility operates to protect your health and the environment, and prevent nuisances.



What types of MSW facilities require a permit?

A permitted MSW facility may be a processing facility, or may include both activities. (See information about MSW facilities that require a registration instead of a permit.)

Types of permitted MSW facilities:

  • MSW landfill—a facility that can accept municipal solid waste for disposal. A Type I landfill may accept all types of municipal solid waste, special waste, and some nonhazardous industrial waste. A Type IV landfill may only accept brush, construction, or demolition waste, and rubbish. Find more detail on wastes that may be accepted by and MSW landfill.
  • Transfer station—a processing facility used for transferring solid waste from collection vehicles to long-haul vehicles for transfer to a landfill; may include material recovery and recycling but does not include disposal of waste.
  • Liquid waste processing facility—a facility that may accept grease trap waste, grit trap waste, and other liquid wastes for dewatering, and transfer of solids for recycling or disposal.
  • Compost permit-tier operation—a facility that can accept organic materials, including grease trap waste for processing into compost.

What will this permit do?

To ensure that a permitted MSW facility is properly designed, constructed, and operated, an MSW permit addresses issues such as:

  • dust, odor, attraction of pests, and windblown trash
  • protection of groundwater and soil from pollution
  • minimizing emission of air pollutants

To prevent pollution and nuisances, our permits contain requirements for:

  • containing or covering waste to control odors and pests
  • installing fences or enclosures to prevent windblown trash
  • installing liners in landfills to prevent release of waste or leachate
  • venting and capturing methane gas from landfills to prevent hazards

By obtaining this permit, the owners and operators of the MSW facility agree to follow its requirements.

Who is applying?

When you see a public notice about a permit application, look at the first paragraph to find the name of the applicant.

If you do not see the notice published in a newspaper, you can find public notices on our website:

What else can I learn about the applicant?

You can learn about this applicant and their plans by contacting them directly. The last paragraph in the public notice will tell you how to contact the applicant.

We also have ways you can learn about this applicant's history with us — for example:

  • Other facilities they have permits for
  • Other businesses they are related to
  • Their environmental track record

How can I learn what other people think about this?

On our website you can search for information about comments others have made about this application. Under Step Three be sure to choose "Include all correspondence...".

What if I have more questions?

Our Public Education Program can help you find the status of applications and tell you more about our permitting processes.


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How can I follow the progress of an application for this permit?

Below is the basic process for an MSW permit application, and a basic description of your responsibilities if you wish to become involved—just be aware that variations can occur.

  • First Notice: Publication of the Notice of Receipt of Application and Intent to Obtain Permit. We call this notice a "NORI" (norry). When our administrative review of the application is complete, we mail the NORI to the permit applicant for publishing and to a required mailing list of government officials and certain landowners.

    If the school closest to the proposed facility is required to offer bilingual education, the applicant is required to publish the NORI (and NAPD, see below) in a language other than English. The applicant is also required to post a sign at the proposed location of the facility. 
     
    The NORI will tell you where you can look at a hard copy of the permit application. We also post links to MSW permit applications we receive on our website.

    Once we mail the NORI, you may start submitting your comments. You may also request a public meeting or a contested case hearing (see Request a Contested Case Hearing, below), or request to be added to the mailing list for future notices.

    See more details on the NORI.
    See how to get added to the mailing list.

  • Second Notice: Mailing of the Notice of Application and Preliminary Decision. We call this a "NAPD" (nap-dee). When our technical review of the application is complete and our executive director has made a preliminary decision, we mail the NAPD to the permit applicant for publishing. We also mail it to a required mailing list of government officials and certain landowners. In addition, we mail it to anyone who submitted comments, requested a public meeting or contested case hearing, or requested to be on the mailing list for future notices.

    The public comment period typically ends 30 days from the publication date of the NAPD. The publication date is significant because we only consider timely filed comments. However, if our executive director has scheduled a public meeting for a later date, the comment period will be extended until the end of that public meeting. For assistance in determining the extent of the comment period, call 800-687-4040.

    See more details about the comment period.

  • Making public comments. If you make a comment, you will get a response from us. Here's how it works:
    1. We gather and respond to all comments submitted before the end of the public comment period.
    2. When two or more people make the same comment, we put their comments together and make one response to that group of comments.
    3. We put all comments and our responses in a document called our "response to comments."
    4. We send the response to comments to everyone who submitted a comment or requested to be put on the mailing list.

    See more details on this part of the process, including how to make a comment.

  • Requesting a public meeting. A public meeting allows the public to learn more about the application, ask questions of the applicant and TCEQ staff, and offer comments on the application. Anyone may ask for a public meeting any time between the date the NORI is mailed and the end of the comment period (see Second Notice above).
     
    See more details on how to request a public meeting.

  • Protesting our executive director’s (ED's) decision to issue the permit. If we release our ED’s decision on a permit application, which is mailed with the response to comment document, there are two common ways to ask the commissioners to consider your protest:

    • Request a contested case hearing. With this you are requesting that the commissioners refer the matter to the State Office of Administrative Hearings. A SOAH hearing is conducted in a manner similar to civil trials in state district court.

      Your hearing request must be based on a timely submitted public comment. You must also include a description of how you would be adversely affected in a way not common to the general public.

      See more details on how to request a contested case hearing.

    • File a Request for Reconsideration or Motion to Overturn. With these, you are requesting that the commissioners reconsider or overturn the ED’s decision.

      See more details on filing a request for reconsideration.

How can I learn when these events happen?

Search: Commissioners' Integrated Database
Call: 800-687-4040
E-mail: pep@tceq.texas.gov


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