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Background Information for H-GAC's Closed Landfill Inventory

Image of Closed Landfill In 1993, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 2537, which required Councils of Governments (COGs) to develop an inventory of closed municipal solid waste landfills for their regional solid waste management plans. The bill was in response to concerns and incidents involving public health and safety when development occurred over property once used for waste disposal.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ, formerly the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission) contracted with Southwest Texas State University (SWTSU) to coordinate with the 24 COGs in Texas to begin locating known and suspected closed municipal landfill sites. The result of this study brought forth approximately 4,200 closed muncipal solid waste landfills, with more than 500 in the H-GAC's 13-county region. Estimated point locations were mapped and available historical information was collected into a database for each county and COG
In 1999, State Bill (SB) 1447 was passed and required the COGs to carry out the inventory to a higher level of detail. Each COG was to attempt to document and map the exact boundaries of each closed landfill or approximate the boundaries if exact boundaries could not be identified. When an exact boundary can be determined, the COG is required to notify the current landowner regarding the former landuse of the property and also notify the County Clerk for deed recordation.

SB 1447 also required that the COGs provide a copy of the closed landfill inventory report to the chief planning official of each municipality and county in which a closed landfill was identified and boundaries documented. The completed inventory is also available at the COG for citizen perusal. The completed closed landfill inventory is also included in the COG's regional solid waste management plan amendment and is provided to the TCEQ. The requirements may be found in Chapter 363.064 of the Texas Health and Safety Code (PDF) 116K.
Aerial View of Landfill

This CLOSED OR ABANDONED MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE LANDFILL INVENTORY was prepared from information furnished by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality ("TCEQ"), permitting records on file with TCEQ and the Texas Department of Health, and from aerial photography and GIS data developed by H-GAC. The county map, individual site maps, and legal descriptions of the closed or abandoned municipal solid waste landfills represent TCEQ's and H-GAC's best judgment about the landfills' location, but neither TCEQ nor H-GAC warrants the accuracy, timeliness, or completeness of the maps or legal descriptions. Moreover, because TCEQ and H-GAC have inventoried only known municipal solid waste landfills, TCEQ and H-GAC make no representation about whether a specific tract of land may overlie an unknown municipal or other solid waste landfill.

Houston-Galveston Area Council - Solid Waste Management Program - December 2008