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The regulatory programs governing solid waste management are constantly evolving to meet the challenges of a society that has historically disposed of huge volumes of materials generated as manufacturing byproducts; spent industrial, commercial and consumer products; residuals from air and water pollution control activities; and wastes generated in connection with the remediation of contaminated sites. From the early days of the groundbreaking federal hazardous waste program under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) that first went into effect in 1980, MGKF attorneys have been at the cutting edge of representing clients in responding to these challenges and taking advantage of the business opportunities that they present.

MGKF's solid waste practice includes all aspects of waste management comprising generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of municipal, commercial, and industrial waste, including both hazardous and non-hazardous wastes - at the federal and state level. We also maintain an active practice dealing with waste recycling. The following is a sampling of the wide-ranging nature of our practice:

  • Generators: Industrial and commercial waste generators must determine whether or not their waste is hazardous and comply with waste accumulation, storage, shipping, source reduction, and recycling requirements that often present complex regulatory issues. MGKF attorneys, with the assistance of our in-house technical consultants, counsel a wide variety of generators in meeting these requirements and identifying facilities to which they can confidently send their waste for treatment, storage, or disposal. We also deal regularly with the disposition of remediation wastes, including the increasingly controversial issues associated with determining when impacted soils may be re-used in an unrestricted fashion as "clean fill" or must be handled as waste.
  • Transportation: Waste transporters face a variety of hazmat, waste shipping, temporary storage, and licensing requirements. We advise both truck and rail waste transportation companies in meeting these requirements, and in responding when accidents result in major or minor spills (more information on our spill response practice may be found here). We have also been called upon by our rail clients to represent them with respect to federal pre-emption of state and local regulations.
  • Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities: A very sophisticated industry has grown up to treat, store, and dispose of municipal, commercial, and industrial wastes. MGKF represents clients who own and operate hazardous and non-hazardous waste landfills and resource recovery facilities, waste transfer stations, facilities that commercially treat industrial wastewaters, and firms in the business of treating remediation wastes including contaminated soil treatment operations. We handle a wide variety of matters involving facility siting, permitting, compliance, acquisition, divestiture, and litigation (e.g., permit appeals, enforcement, and toxic tort lawsuits) for these clients, including matters involving both waste and non-waste regulatory issues. Air quality regulation at these facilities is a focus of our air quality practice group.
  • Recycling: This rapidly developing industry is giving rise to a growing area of our practice. Given the tremendous interest in recycling at the state and local level, we are frequently called upon to represent generators in evaluating whether and when their byproducts and spent materials are subject to recycling requirements versus more stringent waste treatment and disposal obligations. This also includes recycling requirements applicable to electronic wastes ("e-wastes"), which an ever-increasing number of states are more closely regulating. We also advise businesses in the hazardous waste, solvent, and used oil recycling industries, scrap metal and paper recyclers, and businesses that recycle and process consumer recyclables.

Photo © Huguette Roe |

Representative waste matters in which the firm has been involved include the following:

  • We have represented a major waste management company in connection with the siting and permitting of major landfill expansions and leachate treatment facilities, obtaining and renewing a post-closure permit for a hazardous waste landfill, advising the company concerning transfer station permitting and operations, assisting with waste transportation matters and providing counsel in connection with ongoing compliance at operating landfills, transfer facilities, single source recycling facilities and waste-to-energy plants. 
  • The firm has counseled and represented rail carriers with respect to waste transportation matters and federal preemption of state and local regulation. 
  • MGKF has assisted several national retailers to develop waste management practices for their retail and distribution center locations and has provided counsel for waste-related issues as they arise at operating locations. 
  • We have counseled and represented several commercial and industrial clients on a broad range of waste generation and handling issues, including the proper classification of wastes, compliance with generator requirements, evaluation of permitting requirements and waste transportation and disposal issues.
  • MGKF has represented regional e-waste management companies in connection with the siting and permitting of e-waste recycling facilities and gaining agency approvals for e-waste collection programs.

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