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Santa Isabel Agrees to Close Its Municipal Landfill

Release Date: 10/03/2007
Contact Information: Rich Cahill (212) 637-3666, cahill.richard@epa.gov or Brenda Reyes (787) 977-5869, reyes.brenda@epa.gov

(San Juan, P.R.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that the Municipality of Santa Isabel has signed an order with EPA requiring the town and the landfill operators to stop receiving solid waste at the municipal landfill. The order also requires the owners and operators to have appropriate closure measures completed by the summer of 2010 and to conduct post-closure monitoring and maintenance of the landfill.

“This agreement illustrates the continued progress that we are making in dealing with the solid waste situation in Puerto Rico,” said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. ”The closure of this landfill and others that pose environmental and public health threats is part of an overall approach being pursued by EPA and the Commonwealth to address the issue Island-wide.”

In August of this year, EPA conducted a public meeting in Santa Isabel to hear what people had to say about the terms of the Agency’s proposed order to close the landfill because it poses a potential threat to ground water and surface water, adjacent land, and ecologically sensitive Karst Terrain in which it is located. There was a general consensus of support for closure of the landfill from local government leaders and the community.

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is the federal law that governs solid and hazardous waste management. It is the basis of EPA’s authority in negotiating this proposed order and its terms bind the consenting parties to comply with deadlines for action or face potential financial penalties.

For more information on landfills in Puerto Rico visit; http://www.epa.gov/region02/cepd/solidwaste_in_puerto_rico.html

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