Puerto Rico Town Agrees to Close Landfill

On Oct. 3, EPA announced that that the municipality of Santa Isabel signed an order with the federal agency 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 Region 2 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, 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 groundwater 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.

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

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.