Focus On Land & Waste Division
Land Management Division

The Land Management Division is comprised of two sections and one unit: the Waste Management Section, the Remediation Section, and the Planning and Aid Unit. Both Waste Management and Remediation sections share responsibilities for hazardous waste (RCRA), Superfund, voluntary remediation, and integrated waste management programs. Several wasterelated grant programs are administered by the Planning and Aid Unit. Following is a summary of Waste Management Division programs.

Integrated Waste Management Program

Solid Waste regulations are incorporated in NDEQ Title 132 - Integrated Solid Waste Management Regulations. The purpose of the program is to ensure proper management of solid waste. Solid waste includes municipal solid waste typically collected and disposed in municipal landfills, and other nonhazardous waste. The regulations provide technical criteria for land disposal areas and solid waste processing facilities.

Duties assigned to this program include: 1) Permit issuance, renewal and modification; 2) Response to inquiries related to facility operations; 3) Compliance inspections and enforcement actions; 4) Investigation of citizen complaints; 5) Alternate waste management method approvals; 6) Groundwater investigations and groundwater/soil remediation projects for permitted and nonpermitted facilities; 7) Gas emissions monitoring related to landfills and other permitted sites; 8) Closure inspections and monitoring of closure and post-closure activities; 9) Conducting public information sessions and hearings related to permits; 10) Financial assurance review and monitoring compliance; and 11) Assisting regulated facilities and the general public in recycling, re-use and proper management of waste-like materials.

Waste Tire Management Program

The Department also administers the waste tire management program. Approved beneficial uses of waste tires are outlined in Department regulations. Waste tire haulers are required to obtain individual permits annually and are required to post financial assurance. Financial assurance is designed to provide adequate funds to clean up any waste tires that are illegally disposed by the transporter. Waste tire management facilities (except tire dealers) are allowed to accumulate up to 500 tires without further requirements, other than mosquito control and fire prevention measures. Speculative accumulation of more than 500 waste tires is prohibited.

Waste Planning and Aid

Waste Planning and Aid includes the following programs: the Waste Reduction and Recycling Incentive Grants Program; the Litter Reduction and Recycling Grant Program; the Illegal Dumpsite Cleanup Program; and the Landfill Disposal Fee Rebate Program.

Waste Reduction and Recycling Incentive Grants Program

In 1990, the Nebraska Legislature passed Legislative Bill 163, the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act, which created the Waste Reduction and Recycling Incentive Grants Program.

There are three sources of revenue for this program:
A business fee on sales of tangible personal property, which generates about $500,000 annually.
A $1 per tire fee on the retail sale of new tires in Nebraska, which generates about $1.9 million annually;
Fifty percent of the $1.25 per ton disposal fee on solid waste disposed of in permitted landfills, which generates approximately $1.2 million annually for grant awards.

The Waste Reduction and Recycling Incentive Fund provides grants to assist in financing sound integrated waste management programs and projects. These programs and projects may include but are not limited to: recycling systems; market development for recyclable materials; intermediate processing facilities and facilities using recyclable materials in new products; yard waste composting and composting with sewage sludge; waste reduction and waste exchange; household hazardous waste programs; the consolidation of solid waste disposal facilities and use of transfer stations; and incineration for energy recovery. A portion of the grants is also obligated to fund scrap tire recycling or reduction projects and a portion of the grants are available to smaller cities and counties for abandoned building deconstruction.

Litter Reduction and Recycling Grant Program

The Litter Reduction and Recycling Grant Program has been in existence since 1979. Its purpose is to provide funds to support programs to reduce litter, provide education, and promote recycling in Nebraska.

Funds from this program are provided from an annual fee assessed to manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers having gross receipts of at least $100,000, on products that commonly contribute to litter. For manufacturers, the annual litter fee is equal to $175 for each million dollars of products manufactured. The annual litter fee for wholesalers and retailers is equal to $175 for each million dollars of sales made in the state. Approximately $1.8 million is received annually.

Illegal Dumpsite Cleanup Program

The Illegal Dumpsite Cleanup Program, established in 1997, is a cleanup program that provides funding assistance to political subdivisions for the cleanup of solid waste disposed of along public roadways or ditches. Through this program, items such as household waste, white goods, construction and demolition waste, and furniture, are removed from the illegal site and disposed in a permitted facility or recycled.

Landfill Disposal Fee Rebate Program

The Landfill Disposal Fee Rebate Program was created as an incentive to political subdivisions to support and encourage the purchasing of products, materials, or supplies that are manufactured or produced from recycled material. Funding for the program is drawn from the Waste Reduction and Recycling Incentive Fund.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Program

NDEQ was authorized in 1985 by EPA to administer portions of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) program. RCRA regulations are incorporated in NDEQ Title 128 - Nebraska Hazardous Waste Regulations, which is updated as the Federal RCRA regulations change. There were no regulatory changes made in fiscal year 2013 to the Title 128 regulations.

The purpose of the RCRA program is to ensure proper management of hazardous wastes from the point of generation until final disposal.

Superfund Program

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) became federal law in 1980. CERCLA established what has commonly become known as Superfund to deal with known or suspected contamination at inactive commercial/industrial/military facilities or so called "uncontrolled hazardous waste or abandoned sites." The nation's most contaminated sites are listed on the National Priorities List (NPL). Nebraska currently has thirteen sites on the National Priorities List. One site, the Waverly Groundwater Contamination Site, was removed from the NPL on November 20, 2006 as the cleanup goals for the site have been achieved. Twelve of the sites are in the cleanup phase and one site (West Highway 6 & 281 in Hastings) is relatively new to the National Priority List and is in the site study stage. Numerous other non-National Priorities List sites with known or suspected releases of hazardous substances exist in the state, but are not being addressed through the federal Superfund process.

The investigation and remediation of contaminated sites are the primary responsibility of the EPA and other federal agencies. NDEQ participates in the Superfund process by serving as a technical support agency to the EPA and as the environmental representative for the State of Nebraska.

Nebraska Voluntary Cleanup Program

The Remedial Action Plan Monitoring Act (RAPMA), initially created in 1995, established the Nebraska Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP). The Voluntary Cleanup Program provides property owners and parties responsible for contamination with a mechanism for developing voluntary environmental cleanup plans that are reviewed and approved by the Department. The voluntary cleanup program provides an avenue for businesses to proceed with cleanup of property and an opportunity for regulatory review and oversight that may not be available at the federal level. In addition, the program serves as an alternative cleanup program to the more traditional federal cleanup programs like Superfund or RCRA.

The Department has a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with EPA Region VII, which provides federal approval of voluntary cleanup programs. Under this agreement, any site that joins the voluntary cleanup program and successfully completes the cleanup action is assured that EPA will not pursue federal enforcement under CERCLA.

Brownfield Assessments and Cleanups

A brownfield site is a vacant or under-used industrial or commercial property where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by unresolved contamination concerns. The voluntary cleanup program performs assessments and cleanups at brownfield sites in Nebraska. These assessments and cleanups are performed by NDEQ, typically with federal funds, at no cost to interested parties in Nebraska communities. A brownfield assessment is a preliminary investigation to evaluate the environmental conditions at a property, similar to a Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessment. The brownfield assessment can also include surveys of existing building structures on the property for the presence of lead-based paint or asbestos. Cleanups can involve a variety of measures that are implemented to contain and reduce contamination at a site. During the past year, the Department has performed 17 Phase I assessments, five Phase II assessments, one lead-based paint survey, and four asbestos surveys. One of the Phase II assessments, conducted at Rhylander Park in Plattsmouth, identified the presence of lead in soil associated with the former operations of a Burlington Northern-Sante Fe Rail yard. Supplemental investigation conducted by the Department indicated the need for removal of lead contaminated soil from a wooded area immediately adjacent to the park. This soil removal work was recently completed.