Solid Waste Management in Maryland

Items of Interest:

» Guidance for the Beneficial Use of Dredged Materials
    and Other Soils​  

» Solid Waste and Recycling Work Group - See below under "Upcoming Solid Waste Public Meetings or Hearings"

» Honeygo Rubble Landfill Odor Fact Sheet 

» Open Burning Fact Sheet Updated April 2019!

» Application of Refuse Disposal Permit Requirements to Combustion of Refuse Derived Fuel​

Solid Waste Program

MDE's Solid Waste Program (SWP) is responsible for assuring that society's domestic, commercial, and non-hazardous industrial solid waste is handled properly. Improper handling of these wastes can pose direct threats to both public health and Maryland's natural resources, particularly water resources. Since 1914, Maryland has had laws requiring solid waste be handled in a manner that minimizes the risk posed to public health and the environment. The impact caused by poor waste disposal practices include: 
  • pollution of groundwater, which many Marylanders rely on for drinking water supplies;
  • pollution of surface water, with the potential for impacting drinking water supplies of many of the large municipalities in Maryland (e.g. Baltimore City); and,
  • health nuisances such as odor, rats, flies, and mosquitoes.  

Solid Waste Acceptance (SWA) Facilities

landfill cell being lined MDE regulates SWA facilities to ensure the proper disposal of solid waste in an environmentally acceptable manner while protecting the public health and the environment, including surface and groundwater. A Refuse Disposal (RD) Permit is required for the installation, alteration, or extension of a SWA facility. The RD Permit regulates the design, construction, operation, and monitoring of such facilities to minimize the impact on public health and the environment. Municipal, rubble, and some industrial waste landfills are required to have liners and leachate collection systems that facilitate the collection of leachate and prevent migration of pollutants out of the landfill to adjacent subsurface soil, groundwater, and surface water. (The term leachate is used to describe the liquid formed when precipitation soaks into landfill waste and migrates downward through waste due to gravity. As liquids move through the waste, they may extract substances leaching out of the waste - hence the term "leachate.") With some exceptions, processing and transfer activities are required to be conducted in an enclosed building to control odor, dust, noise, and the like. SWA facilities, which are regulated by a RD Permit, include: 
  • Municipal landfills
  • Rubble [construction and demolition (C&D) debris] landfills
  • Non-hazardous industrial waste landfills
  • Land clearing debris landfills
  • Waste-to-energy facilities
  • Municipal incinerators
  • Special medical waste incinerators
  • Special medical waste processing facilities
  • Solid waste processing facilities
  • Solid waste transfer stations 

For a complete list of permitted SWA facilities, see the Permitted Facilities page.


Natural Wood Waste Recycling (NWWR) Facilities

 man pulling greenery toward mulcherA NWWR Facility is a facility that accepts natural wood waste such as tree stumps and limbs, brush, root mats, logs, leaves, grass clippings, unadulterated wood wastes, and other natural vegetative materials that are generated when land is cleared for construction purposed. These facilities produce a variety of products including wood chips, mulch, compost, and firewood, which may be sold to consumers. These facilities are valued because they prevent natural wood waste from entering the landfill and make useful products from such waste. Recycling natural wood waste saves valuable space, thereby extending the life of landfills in Maryland. An individual or general NWWR Facility Permit is required for persons constructing and operating such a facility.  For a complete list of permitted NWWR facilities, see the Permitted Facilities​ page.  Also, for a fact sheet concerning the NWWR regulations, see our Natural Wood Waste Fact Sheet.

Composting Facilities

Composting of organic material can be a useful way to recycle materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Larger-scale commercial, governmental, or cooperative composting activities can potentially have negative environmental impacts such as water pollution, the risk of fire, and the development of significant health nuisances such as odor and the attraction of disease vectors such as rates and flies.  For more information on composting of materials other than NWW, see the Department's Organics Diversion and Composting ​web page.  

Regulation of the Open Burning of Solid Waste

Open burn permits issued by the local health officer can help to address air pollution, nuisance, and public safety concerns when all applicable laws and regulations are followed. The Land and Materials Administration, with input from the Air and Radiation Management Administration, has put together guidance in an effort to clarify the appropriate application of open burning regulations.

Open Burning Fact Sheet ​ - This fact sheet describes the regulatory requirements and provides examples of when materials that are solid waste can and can't be burned. 

Upcoming Solid Waste Public Meetings or Hearings:

For the most up to date information on public meetings or hearings visit the MDE Calendar Page.
Maryland Solid Waste and Recycling Facilities Work Group Meeting
Next Meeting Date and Time: Thursday, May 2, 2019 at 1:30 PM 
Place:  Maryland Department of the Environment, 1800 Washington Blvd., Baltimore MD 21230-1719
Aeris Conference Room in the Lobby reception area.
Add’l Info:  Passed during the 2017 Legislative Session, House Bill 124 (Chapter 376) directs the Maryland Department of the Environment (the “Department”) to adopt regulations to specify when a “recycling facility” may operate without a refuse disposal permit and to exempt certain materials that are managed at a recycling facility from being designated as “solid waste.”  The law also provides that the regulations may include design and operational conditions for recycling facilities to protect the environment and allows for a tiered system of permits or approvals that are based on the type and amount of materials to be managed at a facility.   In accordance with the statute, the Department must convene and consult with a workgroup of affected stakeholders when developing the regulations.    
Proposed next meeting dates (All meetings 1:30-3:30):  
Additional Meetings to be Scheduled As Needed.
Meetings of the Workgroup will be subject to the Maryland Open Meetings Act. Future meetings will be scheduled on an approximately monthly basis until the Department has developed the draft regulations.  Notification of meetings will be posted on the Department’s website at 
Future meetings will be canceled and rescheduled if State offices are on liberal leave or are closed.  Details on State closings are available on the Department of Budget and Management's Special Closings of State Buildings, Liberal Leave and Emergency Information​ web page.​
 Contact:  Edward Dexter  (410) 537-3315
Meeting agenda is available here:  Agenda for 5/2/2019
Text of HB124:  HB124
Excerpts from New Jersey's Recycling Facility Regulations: NJ Regs
Excerpts from New York's Recycling Facility Regulations:  NY Regs
Documents regarding Plastics to Petroleum:
Suggested Reporting Requirements, 7/2018: Reporting

Facilities of Interest:

Allied Chemical Chromium Works/Harbor Point Redevelopment 

Harbor Point Development, LLC has constructed a commercial and retail building at the former Allied Chemical chromium plant at 1000 Wills Street in Fells Point, where chromium ore was processed for over 130 years until the plant was demolished in the 1980s. Due to extensive contamination with chromium from the historical industrial activities, the site was subject to a thorough investigation and remediation in accordance with the State and federal hazardous waste regulations. Learn more on the Allied Chemical page.

Contact Us

Solid Waste Program, Land and Materials Administration
Maryland Department of the Environment
1800 Washington Blvd., Ste. 605
Baltimore MD  21230-1719
Phone: 410-537-3315
Fax: 410-537-3842

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