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Non-hazardous solid waste is regulated by the federal government. States play a lead role in ensuring the federal criteria for operating municipal solid waste and industrial waste landfills regulations are met, and they may set more stringent requirements. In absence of an approved state program, the federal requirements must be met by waste facilities. Regulations address common problems associated with landfills including location restrictions, liner requirements, leachate collection and removal systems, groundwater monitoring requirements, and closure and post-closure care requirements.

There is a danger posed by natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and other events, which can have impacts on groundwater, the overall environment and public health in areas near landfills and other solid waste facilities. Additionally, solid waste management is inherently tied to the proper functioning of other infrastructure, such that without fully-functioning transportation options—roads, bridges, rail, inland waterways—solid waste collection is compromised with the resulting impacts to public health.

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