Solid Waste Management Unit

Solid Waste Management Unit in the United States

Solid Waste Management Unit (SWMU) in Environmental Law

Any part of a treatment/storage/disposal facility that is used for solid waste placement, treatment, or storage. Each SWMU is considered a discrete part of the overall facility. These units are important when the business ceases operation entirely or stops using part of the facility for waste management, since they must be closed.

If, for example, a waste disposal facility has an incinerator that is later replaced by another incinerator, the first incinerator is considered a SWMU, so it must be properly closed. This may entail no more than cleaning the equipment to ensure that no hazardous waste residues remain, or it may require cleaning and dismantling the unit.

Landfills must also be closed when they reach capacity. For landfills, part of the closure will be putting in monitoring wells to make sure the groundwater does not become contaminated. Other safeguards include drainage for leachate, a special cover for the surface to retard the flow of rainwater into the unit, and a collection system for runoff.

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act governs hazardous waste treatment/storage/and disposal facilities. All permitted facilities are obligated to clean up any solid waste management unit any time a release is discovered. This cleanup is called corrective action, and it is one of the provisions of every permit.
Based on “Environment and the Law. A Dictionary”.



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