TITLE 42 - THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE
CHAPTER 82 - SOLID WASTE DISPOSAL
SUBCHAPTER I - GENERAL PROVISIONS
Sec. 6901. Congressional findings
(a) Solid waste
The Congress finds with respect to solid waste -
(1) that the continuing technological progress and improvement
in methods of manufacture, packaging, and marketing of consumer
products has resulted in an ever-mounting increase, and in a
change in the characteristics, of the mass material discarded by
the purchaser of such products;
(2) that the economic and population growth of our Nation, and
the improvements in the standard of living enjoyed by our
population, have required increased industrial production to meet
our needs, and have made necessary the demolition of old
buildings, the construction of new buildings, and the provision
of highways and other avenues of transportation, which, together
with related industrial, commercial, and agricultural operations,
have resulted in a rising tide of scrap, discarded, and waste
(3) that the continuing concentration of our population in
expanding metropolitan and other urban areas has presented these
communities with serious financial, management,
intergovernmental, and technical problems in the disposal of
solid wastes resulting from the industrial, commercial, domestic,
and other activities carried on in such areas;
(4) that while the collection and disposal of solid wastes
should continue to be primarily the function of State, regional,
and local agencies, the problems of waste disposal as set forth
above have become a matter national in scope and in concern and
necessitate Federal action through financial and technical
assistance and leadership in the development, demonstration, and
application of new and improved methods and processes to reduce
the amount of waste and unsalvageable materials and to provide
for proper and economical solid waste disposal practices.
(b) Environment and health
The Congress finds with respect to the environment and health,
(1) although land is too valuable a national resource to be
needlessly polluted by discarded materials, most solid waste is
disposed of on land in open dumps and sanitary landfills;
(2) disposal of solid waste and hazardous waste in or on the
land without careful planning and management can present a danger
to human health and the environment;
(3) as a result of the Clean Air Act [42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.],
the Water Pollution Control Act [33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.], and
other Federal and State laws respecting public health and the
environment, greater amounts of solid waste (in the form of
sludge and other pollution treatment residues) have been created.
Similarly, inadequate and environmentally unsound practices for
the disposal or use of solid waste have created greater amounts
of air and water pollution and other problems for the environment
and for health;
(4) open dumping is particularly harmful to health,
contaminates drinking water from underground and surface
supplies, and pollutes the air and the land;
(5) the placement of inadequate controls on hazardous waste
management will result in substantial risks to human health and
(6) if hazardous waste management is improperly performed in
the first instance, corrective action is likely to be expensive,
complex, and time consuming;
(7) certain classes of land disposal facilities are not capable
of assuring long-term containment of certain hazardous wastes,
and to avoid substantial risk to human health and the
environment, reliance on land disposal should be minimized or
eliminated, and land disposal, particularly landfill and surface
impoundment, should be the least favored method for managing
hazardous wastes; and
(8) alternatives to existing methods of land disposal must be
developed since many of the cities in the United States will be
running out of suitable solid waste disposal sites within five
years unless immediate action is taken.
The Congress finds with respect to materials, that -
(1) millions of tons of recoverable material which could be
used are needlessly buried each year;
(2) methods are available to separate usable materials from
solid waste; and
(3) the recovery and conservation of such materials can reduce
the dependence of the United States on foreign resources and
reduce the deficit in its balance of payments.
The Congress finds with respect to energy, that -
(1) solid waste represents a potential source of solid fuel,
oil, or gas that can be converted into energy;
(2) the need exists to develop alternative energy sources for
public and private consumption in order to reduce our dependence
on such sources as petroleum products, natural gas, nuclear and
hydroelectric generation; and
(3) technology exists to produce usable energy from solid
(Pub. L. 89-272, title II, Sec. 1002, as added Pub. L. 94-580, Sec.
2, Oct. 21, 1976, 90 Stat. 2796; amended Pub. L. 95-609, Sec. 7(a),
Nov. 8, 1978, 92 Stat. 3081; Pub. L. 98-616, title I, Sec. 101(a),
Nov. 8, 1984, 98 Stat. 3224.)
REFERENCES IN TEXT
The Clean Air Act, referred to in subsec. (b)(3), is act July 14,
1955, ch. 360, 69 Stat. 322, as amended, which is classified
generally to chapter 85 (Sec. 7401 et seq.) of this title. For
complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title
note set out under section 7401 of this title and Tables.
The Water Pollution Control Act, referred to in subsec. (b)(3),
is act June 30, 1948, ch. 758, as amended generally by Pub. L. 92-
500, Sec. 2, Oct. 18, 1972, 86 Stat. 816, which is classified
generally to chapter 26 (Sec. 1251 et seq.) of Title 33, Navigation
and Navigable Waters. For complete classification of this Act to
the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1251 of Title
33 and Tables.
The statutory system governing the disposal of solid wastes set
out in this chapter is found in Pub. L. 89-272, title II, as
amended in its entirety and completely revised by section 2 of Pub.
L. 94-580, Oct. 21, 1976, 90 Stat. 2795. See Short Title of 1976
Amendment note below.
The act, as set out in this chapter, carries a statutory credit
showing the sections as having been added by Pub. L. 94-580,
without reference to amendments to the act between its original
enactment in 1965 and its complete revision in 1976. The act, as
originally enacted in 1965, was classified to section 3251 et seq.
of this title. For a recapitulation of the provisions of the act as
originally enacted, see notes in chapter 39 (Sec. 3251 et seq.) of
this title where the act was originally set out.
Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in
section 3251 of this title prior to the general amendment of the
Solid Waste Disposal Act by Pub. L. 94-580.
1984 - Subsec. (b)(5) to (8). Pub. L. 98-616 added pars. (5) to
(7), struck out former par. (5) providing that "hazardous waste
presents, in addition to the problems associated with non-hazardous
solid waste, special dangers to health and requires a greater
degree of regulation than does non-hazardous solid waste; and",
redesignated former par. (6) as (8), and substituted a period for
the semicolon at end.
1978 - Subsec. (a)(4). Pub. L. 95-609 substituted "solid waste"
SHORT TITLE OF 2005 AMENDMENT
Pub. L. 109-58, title XV, Sec. 1521, Aug. 8, 2005, 119 Stat.
1092, provided that: "This subtitle [subtitle B (Secs. 1521-1533)
of title XV of Pub. L. 109-58, enacting sections 6991j to 6991m of
this title, amending sections 6991 to 6991f, 6991h, and 6991i of
this title, and enacting provisions set out as notes under section
6991b of this title] may be cited as the 'Underground Storage Tank
SHORT TITLE OF 1996 AMENDMENT
Pub. L. 104-119, Sec. 1, Mar. 26, 1996, 110 Stat. 830, provided
that: "This Act [amending sections 6921, 6924, 6925, 6947, and
6949a of this title and enacting provisions set out as a note under
section 6949a of this title] may be cited as the 'Land Disposal
Program Flexibility Act of 1996'."
SHORT TITLE OF 1992 AMENDMENT
Pub. L. 102-386, title I, Sec. 101, Oct. 6, 1992, 106 Stat. 1505,
provided that: "This title [enacting sections 6908, 6939c to 6939e,
and 6965 of this title, amending sections 6903, 6924, 6927, and
6961 of this title, and enacting provisions set out as notes under
sections 6939c and 6961 of this title] may be cited as the 'Federal
Facility Compliance Act of 1992'."
SHORT TITLE OF 1988 AMENDMENT
Pub. L. 100-582, Sec. 1, Nov. 1, 1988, 102 Stat. 2950, provided
that: "This Act [enacting sections 6992 to 6992k of this title and
section 3063 of Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, and
amending section 6903 of this title] may be cited as the 'Medical
Waste Tracking Act of 1988'."
SHORT TITLE OF 1984 AMENDMENT
Section 1 of Pub. L. 98-616 provided that: "This Act [enacting
sections 6917, 6936 to 6939a, 6949a, 6979a, 6979b, and 6991 to
6991i of this title, amending this section and sections 6902, 6905,
6912, 6915, 6916, 6921 to 6933, 6935, 6941 to 6945, 6948, 6956,
6962, 6972, 6973, 6976, 6982 and 6984 of this title and enacting
provisions set out as notes under sections 6905, 6921 and 6926 of
this title] may be cited as 'The Hazardous and Solid Waste
Amendments of 1984'."
SHORT TITLE OF 1980 AMENDMENTS
Pub. L. 96-482, Sec. 1, Oct. 21, 1980, 94 Stat. 2334, provided:
"This Act [enacting sections 6933, 6934, 6941a, 6955, and 6956 of
this title, amending sections 6903, 6905, 6911, 6912, 6916, 6921,
6922, 6924, 6925, 6927 to 6931, 6941 to 6943, 6945, 6946, 6948,
6949, 6952, 6953, 6962, 6963, 6964, 6971, 6973, 6974, 6976, 6979,
and 6982 of this title; and enacting and repealing provisions set
out as a note under section 6981 of this title] may be cited as the
'Solid Waste Disposal Act Amendments of 1980'."
Pub. L. 96-463, Sec. 1, Oct. 15, 1980, 94 Stat. 2055, provided:
"This Act [enacting sections 6901a, 6914a and 6932 of this title,
amending sections 6903, 6943 and 6948 of this title, and enacting
provisions set out as notes under sections 6363 and 6932 of this
title] may be cited as the 'Used Oil Recycling Act of 1980'."
SHORT TITLE OF 1976 AMENDMENT
Section 1 of Pub. L. 94-580 provided that: "This Act [enacting
this chapter and provisions set out as notes under this section and
section 6981 of this title] may be cited as the 'Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976'."
Pub. L. 89-272, title II, Sec. 1001, as added by Pub. L. 94-580,
Sec. 2, Oct. 21, 1976, 90 Stat. 2795, provided that: "This title
(hereinafter in this title referred to as 'this Act'), together
with the following table of contents, may be cited as the 'Solid
Waste Disposal Act' " [table of contents omitted].
FEDERAL COMPLIANCE WITH POLLUTION CONTROL STANDARDS
For provisions relating to the responsibility of the head of each
Executive agency for compliance with applicable pollution control
standards, see Ex. Ord. No. 12088, Oct. 13, 1978, 43 F.R. 47707,
set out as a note under section 4321 of this title.
NATIONAL COMMISSION ON MATERIALS POLICY
Pub. L. 91-512, title II, Secs. 201-206, Oct. 26, 1970, 84 Stat.
1234, known as the "National Materials Policy Act of 1970",
provided for the establishment of the National Commission on
Materials Policy to make a full investigation and study for the
purpose of developing a national materials policy to utilize
present resources and technology more efficiently and to anticipate
the future materials requirements of the Nation and the world, the
Commission to submit to the President and Congress a report on its
findings and recommendations no later than June 30, 1973, ninety
days after the submission of which it should cease to exist.
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