College of EngineeringDepartment of Civil and Environmental EngineeringResearchASWSProject Info

Project Info

Why study solid waste management?
In February, 2011, Gov. Robert Bentley signed Executive Order Number 8 (EO8), which directed the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, with input from the Alabama Solid Waste Management advisory committee and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), to adopt and promulgate new rules, regulations, and requirements for the permitting of solid waste management facilities and landfills meeting certain size/capacity criteria. This order also required all solid waste management facilities be approved by the Alabama Solid Waste Management advisory committee. Importantly, the order imposed a moratorium on the issuance of new or modified permits -- or the transfer of existing permits-- for solid waste management facilities until the new rules, regulations, and requirements required by the order were promulgated.

The directives contained in EO8 were enacted into law in May 2011 with the passage of Act 2011-297, Bill H-406 (Landfill Moratorium Act), which specified a 24-month moratorium on the issuance of new or modified permits. The stated purpose of the Landfill Moratorium Act is to allow adequate time for ADEM and ADPH to review their responsibilities under the Solid Wastes and Recyclable Materials Act and for the update of the state’s solid waste management needs. Recently, House Bill 556 passed the legislature and was signed by Gov. Robert Bentley on May 15, 2012. The bill extends the prohibition of certain new solid waste facilities until May 31, 2014.

The Landfill Moratorium Act is applicable only to new, public landfill permits, and makes no reference to the Solid Waste Advisory Committee (previously referenced in EO8). The moratorium is not tied to promulgation of new regulations, and provides for an emergency waiver by ADEM when recommended jointly by the State Health Officer and the local host government. The law requires ADEM and ADPH to review their duties and responsibilities under the Act during the moratorium period, and for ADEM to make recommendations for legislation or undertake rulemaking as appropriate.

How will solid waste management be reviewed for improvements?
 is partnering with Auburn University to perform a review of their duties and responsibilities under the Landfill Moratorium Act.  A component of this review is the performance of a series of public meetings across the state to (1) inform the public on the current process for permitting solid waste landfills in Alabama; (2) discuss non-landfilling alternative solid waste management strategies; and (3) solicit input from the public on potential modifications or changes to Alabama’s current solid waste landfill permitting process, and solid waste alterative use strategies.

What is the Alabama Solid Waste Study?
Alabama Solid Waste Study is an independent assessment of Alabama’s current solid waste management regulations, which will be completed by an interdisciplinary team at Auburn University. The study is funded by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. The purpose of this research is to review the current process for approving new landfill sites within the state, seek public input about the management of solid waste in Alabama, and propose new procedures and regulations surrounding the landfill approval process. Through a series of public meetings, we will seek feedback from residents on how garbage is handled in your area and how we as a state can better manage the collection and disposal of solid waste materials for a better tomorrow.

Who is conducting the ASWS?
The six-person Auburn University research team is comprised of experts in geotechnical engineering, environmental engineering, hydrology and hydrogeology, land planning, economics, statistics, public policy and public meetings. Our diverse yet relevant experiences all bring a different perspective to the study that work collaboratively towards discovering solutions to enhance the solid waste management within our state. Read more about our Research Team.

Where will the public meetings be held?
A series of public meetings will be held throughout the state of Alabama, starting in mid 2012 and continue through the remainder of this calendar year. The first public meeting will be held in Montgomery on June 29. See our calendar of events section to find our about upcoming meetings, or view a listing of completed public meetings with video footage in our "Public Meetings" section of this website.

What is the intended outcome of this study?
The research team at Auburn University will review input from the public meetings and website collection forms, compile data, compare how other states manage their solid waste, and review the current landfill approval process. After careful review of the data, the research team will provide recommendations to ADEM about potential improvements, technological enhancements, and environmentally responsible changes to solid waste management within the state.