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Preparing and Submitting an Application to Develop Land Over a Closed Municipal Solid Waste Landfill

How to apply for a development permit, registration, or authorization to disturb the cover of a closed MSW landfill.

Preparing an Application

Use the forms listed on our Application Forms for Use of Land Over a Closed MSW Landfill page for the type of project.

A closed landfill that was permitted will remain under its permit through the landfill post-closure care period (Title 30 Texas Administrative Code, Section 330.463Exit the TCEQ [30 TAC 330.463]). The permit is “active” even though the landfill is closed.

If the landfill has an active permit, you must submit an application to modify the closure plan and post-closure care plan in the permit in accordance with 30 TAC 305.70(j)(28)Exit the TCEQ, and attach either the development permit, registration, or disturbance application described above in Which application form should I use?, in accordance with 30 TAC 330.954(c)Exit the TCEQ.

If the project area is not over a waste unit, a development permit, registration, or disturbance authorization is not required, but the landfill permit must still be modified to identify the added features and show their locations.

You may wish to pursue a voluntary revocation of the landfill permit in accordance with 30 TAC 305.67Exit the TCEQ and 330.465(b)Exit the TCEQ to eliminate the need to modify the landfill permit if:

  • Post-closure care period has reached its end and there are no problems associated with the landfill.
  • Permit is not needed for another purpose, such as to allow a waste transfer station to operate under a registration instead of a permit.

What you include is determined by which application you are submitting:

  • Development permit for a proposed enclosed structure:
    • Submit the forms for a development permit for enclosed structure and applicable attachments.
    • The application must contain the information required by 30 TAC 330.957Exit the TCEQ, including a structures gas monitoring plan in accordance with 330.957(t) and a safety and evacuation plan in accordance with 330.957(u).
    • Include all existing and proposed construction activities in the application even though they are intended to be complete in various phases later.
  • Registration for an existing enclosed structure:
  • Authorization for a disturbance not involving an enclosed structure:
    • Submit the forms for authorization to disturb final cover and the applicable attachments.
    • The application must contain the information required by 30 TAC 330.960Exit the TCEQ, including a description of the procedures for ensuring safety, for water and methane monitoring, and for excavated material disposal during investigation or construction.

Each type of application will include engineering plans or reports that will need to be certified and sealed by a professional engineer (PE).

Also, each application must include:

  • provisions for preparing and submitting a completion report documenting the completion activities in accordance with the authorization; and
  • attachments such as manifests for disposal of excavated materials, records of methane monitoring, and management of contaminated water.

You may propose landscaping and buried utilities as part of a development over a closed landfill. The design details must be provided in the application. Follow these guidelines for landscaping and conduits carrying fluids:

  • Landscaping:
    • You can plant trees outside the area containing waste.
    • Within the area containing waste, you may plant small trees and shrubs with shallow root systems. TCEQ may require placement of additional soil over the existing cover in accordance with before planting [30 TAC 330.955(b)Exit the TCEQ]. Avoid planting trees with root systems that would penetrate the cover and risk exposing the waste.
  • Conduits carrying fluids:
    • Run conduits carrying fluids outside the waste disposed area when possible.
    • Conduits carrying fluids over or within the closed MSW landfill must have double-containment in accordance with 30 TAC 330.955(g)Exit the TCEQ. The double‑containment method may be pipe-in-pipe, or a pipe in a secondary containment trench with a geomembrane liner and leak detection system.
    • In irrigation systems, the main supply line must have a master valve outside the waste area that is manually operated. Lines that run over waste must be double‑contained and must not be pressurized except when the irrigation system is operating.
    • Utility pipelines and conduits carrying fluids may not be placed directly within waste. To run a pipeline or conduit through a waste unit, you must remove waste along the path and create a trench that extends 2 feet below and 2 feet on either side of the line, backfill with compacted clay, and place the line in the backfill. The waste removed from the trench must be disposed at an authorized facility and not redeposited in the trench.

If the subject site is in a floodplain, contact FEMA to determine what would be necessary to allow construction. Or provide documentation that you are coordinating with the designated floodplain administrator indicating that the proposed construction activities in the floodplain are acceptable.

An applicant does not need to be the property owner. However, if the applicant and the property owner are different, both the applicant and the property owner must sign the application form.

An application for a development permit for a proposed enclosed structure or registration of an existing enclosed structure must include a legal description of the property in accordance with 30 TAC 330.59(d)Exit the TCEQ, 330.957(h)Exit the TCEQ, and 330.959(b)(1)Exit the TCEQ.

In addition, the application must include a certified copy of a deed or other document from the county real property records that identifies the current property owner in accordance with 30 TAC 330.962Exit the TCEQ.

The legal description in an application must match the portion of the property covered by the application.

If the existing legal description is for the entire property containing the waste disposal area but the project area covered by the application is for a smaller area within the larger property, the project area must be surveyed and a project area legal description prepared and filed in the county real property records.


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Notices and Legal Records to Send or File, and Include in an Application

There are several notices you may need to send or file—or direct a PE to send or file—during the process of investigating a property, applying for a TCEQ authorization, and completing a project:

  • Notification by a PE of determination from a soil test that part of a tract overlies a closed MSW landfill [30 TAC 330.953(d)Exit the TCEQ].
  • Notice of the opportunity to request a public meeting for an application for a development permit for enclosed structure [30 TAC 330.954(b)Exit the TCEQ].
  • Notice by an owner or local government official to real property records of the former use of the land for a landfill, with legal description, filed in the real property records in the county where the land is located [30 TAC 330.962Exit the TCEQ].
  • Notice by an owner—to buyers, lessees, and occupants—of the former use of the land for a landfill, with legal description, structural controls in place, and any restrictions on the development or lease of the land, filed in the real property records in the county where the land is located [30 TAC 330.963Exit the TCEQ].
  • In a development permit application, include certified copies of all notices made by the PE, by the owner, and by the lessor or lessee [30 TAC 330.957(p)Exit the TCEQ].
  • In a registration application, include certified copies of all notices made by the owner, and by the lessor or lessee [30 TAC 330.959(b)(2)Exit the TCEQ].

According to 30 TAC 330.964Exit the TCEQ, if you lease or offer for lease a property that overlies a closed MSW landfill:

  • Any existing development on the land must comply with the rules for use of land over closed MSW landfills.
  • Or, you must notify prospective lessees of what is required to bring the property and any development on the property into compliance—and the prohibitions or requirements for future development.


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Application Review by TCEQ

When we receive an application, we will assign an MSW authorization number and conduct an administrative and technical review of the application to verify it contains all required information and complies with regulatory requirements.

If any information is missing or does not meet requirements, we will notify you in a “notice of deficiency” (NOD) detailing the items needing attention.

Once an application is administratively and technically complete, we will proceed with issuing your development permit, registration, or disturbance authorization.

Provide a cover letter listing each NOD item and how it has been addressed, and where in the application. Provide new and revised pages as needed, and include copies marked to show the revisions (“redline/strikeout”) along with a new, original applicant certification statement and signature page. Submit the response under a Correspondence Cover Sheet (form TCEQ 20714).

You may make changes to an issued development permit or registration for an enclosed structure.

You may make changes to an issued authorization to disturb final cover if the proposed activities are similar and encompass the same area as the existing authorization.

To submit an application to make changes, follow the instructions for modifying an existing permit, registration, or authorization to disturb cover.


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Contact MSW Permits Section

Please contact the MSW Permits Section if you have questions about using land over a closed MSW landfill.

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