United States
                   Environmental Protection
                   Agency
Environmental Monitoring
Systems Laboratory
Las Vegas, NV 89193-3478
                   Research and Development
EPA/600/S4-89/042  May 1990
v/EPA          Project  Summary

                    Proximity  of  Washington
                    Sanitary Landfills to
                    Wetlands and  Deepwater
                    Habitats
                    J. E. Moerlins, R. C. Herndon, V. W. Lambou, and R. L. Gebhard
                     Sanitary landfills can cause con-
                   siderable harm to  sensitive ecosys-
                   tems if they are not properly located,
                   designed, and managed. The purpose
                   of these reports is to summarize the
                   proximity of sanitary landfills in  the
                   state of Washington to wetlands and
                   deepwater habitats (i.e., rivers, lakes,
                   streams, bays, etc.);  and to present
                   data on individual  landfills.  The
                   source of data used to determine the
                   locations of the sanitary landfills was
                   the  computer data file developed by
                   Development Planning and  Research
                   Associates,  Inc. (DPRA) for use by
                   the  U.S. Environmental Protection
                   Agency's Office of Solid Waste in its
                   RCRA Subtitle D program.  The
                   sanitary landfills were identified on
                   U.S. Fish  and Wildlife Service's
                   National  Wetlands Inventory maps.
                   The nearness  or  proximity of the
                   sanitary landfills to wetlands and
                   deepwater  habitats was determined
                   by drawing three concentric regions
                   around the point  representing  the
                   location of each landfill. The radii of
                   the  concentric regions were: 1/4 mile,
                   1/2  mile, and 1 mile. Data on 118
                   individual  sanitary landfills in the
                   state of Washington were contained
                   in the DPRA  data file. Data were
                   obtained for 96 of these   landfills
                   relative to their proximity to wetlands
                   and deepwater habitats. Most  san-
                   itary  landfills in  the  state of
                   Washington are located in or are
                   close to either wetlands or deepwater
                   habitats. Most are located  close  to
                   wetlands while appoximately half are
                   close  to deepwater habitats. These
                   facilities  have the  potential to
adversely affect sensitive ecosys-
tems, such as wetlands  and deep-
water habitats, either through habitat
alterations or through the migration
of  contaminants from sanitary
landfills.
  This  Project  Summary  was
developed by EPA's Environmental
Monitoring Systems Laboratory, Las
Vegas, NV, to announce key findings
of the research project that is fully
documented In two separate volumes
of the same  title (see Project Report
ordering information at back).

Introduction
  Sanitary landfills, as typically defined,
are waste management facilities  regu-
lated under Subtitle D of the Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
These facilities are commonly referred to
as municipal waste landfills,  and they are
primarily  used  to  receive  household
refuse and nonhazardous  commercial
waste. However,  sanitary  landfills  also
receive other types  of Subtitle D waste,
such as sewage  sludge  and industrial
wastes. Sanitary landfills typically receive
some hazardous  waste  in  the  form of
household  hazardous  waste,  and
hazardous waste from small quantity
generators as defined in 40 CFR  Part
261.10 (Definitions).  Depending upon the
definition of a sanitary landfill used by the
individual states, there are between 6,500
and 9,300 of these facilities permitted in
the United States.
  Sanitary  landfills  can  cause
considerable  harm  to  sensitive
ecosystems if they are not properly
located, designed, and managed. These
facilities have the potential  to adversely

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affect  sensitive ecosystems, such  as
wetlands and deepwater  habitats, either
through habitat alterations or through the
migration of contaminants from sanitary
landfills.  In order to  evaluate  the
seriousness  of this  problem,  information
is needed on the nearness  of sanitary
landfills to  wetlands and surface water
bodies. The purpose of this study is to
document  the  proximity  of sanitary
landfills in the  state of Washington to
wetlands and deepwater habitats (i.e.,
rivers,  lakes, streams, bays, etc.).

Methodology
  The  source of data used to determine
the locations of  the  sanitary landfills was
the computer data file  developed  by
Development Planning  and  Research
Associates,  Inc.,  (DPRA) for  use by the
U.S. Environmental  Protection Agency's
Office of Solid Waste in its RCRA Subtitle
D program. The DPRA data file includes
information  on 7,683  sanitary landfills,
and 6,849 of these facilities have  latitude
and  longitude coordinates  in degrees,
minutes, and seconds  specified  in  the
data file. Each set of coordinates  defines
a point which represents the geographic
location of a sanitary landfill. In addition,
the data file contains  the names  of the
landfills and data on  the cities or counties
in which the landfills  reside.  Individual
states  are  responsible for   permitting
sanitary  landfills under  Subtitle D  of
RCRA, and, since  DPRA obtained  the
information  for the  data  file  from state
sources, the site location  information
varies in terms of accuracy and the point
chosen to represent the location of each
facility.
  Wetlands  typically form   part of  a
continuous  transition zone  between
uplands and open water. Therefore, the
delineation  of  the  upper  and  lower
boundaries  in any  wetland definition is
somewhat arbitrary.  There are a number
of definitions of wetlands  that have been
developed for use in  classifying natural
environments or for  regulatory purposes.
While  these definitions are not identical,
they are very similar. The selection of a
specific definition for  use in this study
was determined  by the availability of
national wetlands and deepwater habitats
geographic data.
  The  most  extensive, consistent source
of  wetlands and  deepwater habitats
geographic data is  the  U.S. Fish  and
Wildlife  Service's  National  Wetlands
Inventory (NWI).  The NWI has developed
detailed,  large-scale  maps  for  a
significant portion of the United States.
To date, wetland  maps  have been
developed for approximately  40  percent
of the contiguous 48 states, 10 percent of
Alaska,  and all of Hawaii.  Large-scale
NWI maps typically  are  either  1:24,000
scale or 1:63,360 scale U.S. Geological
Survey quadrangle maps; however, most
are  1:24,000  scale. Wetlands  and
deepwater habitats are delineated on the
NWI maps.  The delineation of  wetlands
and  deepwater habitats was developed
using remote  sensing techniques and
field investigations. The  NWI maps  are
developed  in  accordance with  the
National  Map  Accuracy  Standard
(NMAS). The NWI 1:24,000 scale maps
used in  this  study are  accurate,
according to the NMAS, to within 40 feet
of ground measurements.  These  maps
were  particularly useful for plotting  the
location  of  sanitary  landfills  and  for
determining the  proximity of  these
facilities to wetlands and deepwater
habitats.
  The NWI maps use the definitions and
the classification system for wetlands and
deepwater  habitats  developed  by  the
U.S.  Fish and Wildlife Service. Wetlands
are defined as lands transitional between
terrestrial and aquatic systems where the
water table  is  usually at  or near  the
surface, or the land is covered by shallow
water. Deepwater habitats are defined as
permanently flooded  lands lying  below
the deepwater boundary of wetlands.
  The U.S.  Fish and Wildlife Service's
classification of wetlands  and deepwater
habitats  is  hierarchial in  nature  pro-
ceeding from general to  specific.  There
are  5 systems, 10 subsystems, and 55
classes. In this  study only the "system,"
i.e.,  the  complex  of wetlands  and
deepwater  habitats  that share  the
influence of similar hydrologic,  geomor-
phologic, chemical, or  biological factors,
was used for classification purposes.
  In  order to link the location of sanitary
landfills  in  the  DPRA data file  to  the
appropriate NWI maps,  we used  the
information on  the T-70  computer tape
obtained  from  the  U.S.  Geological
Survey.  The NWI large-scale maps were
developed   using  U.S.  Geological
Survey's  quadrangle maps as base
maps. The T-70 computer  tape contains
67 fields of  information including latitude
and  longitude  that  can  be  used  for
identifying the 1:24,000 scale maps, the
map  names,  and  the  state  codes
assigned to the maps. Sanitary  landfill
location data on the DPRA computer file
tape  were  matched  by  a computer
program against location data on the U.S.
Geological  Survey's T-70 computer tape
in order to identify the specific maps that
contain sanitary landfills and/or that would
be needed to evaluate the wetlands  and
deepwater habitats that are within 1 mile
of each sanitary  landfill. The map names
obtained from the  computer matching
were sorted  by state and compared with
inventories of available NWI maps.
  Each  sanitary  landfill  included in this
study was  located  on NWI  large-scale
maps  using  standard  cartographic
techniques.  Nearness or  proximity  of
sanitary landfills to  wetlands and  deep-
water  habitats  was  determined  by
drawing three  concentric  regions around
the point  representing  the location  ol
each landfill. The radii of the concentric
regions were:  1/4 mile,  1/2 mile, and  1
mile. The occurrence or nonoccurrence
of the  wetlands  and  deepwater  habitat
systems in  each concentric region was
then recorded.
  Many sanitary  landfills are typically ol
the order of  100  acres   in size. Foi
example, in  the state of Florida  about 3E
percent of the active sanitary landfills arc
between 50  and 150 acres in size, with
the average size being 110 acres, f
landfill  that  is 100 acres  in  size anc
uniformly distributed about its   latitude
longitude point designation will  have  <
radius  of approximately  1/4 mile and
therefore, will  approximate  the boundary
of the  first  concentric  1/4-mile radiu:
region. Undoubtedly, most of the landfill;
located in  a 1/4-mile  radius  regior
containing either wetlands  or deepwate
habitats should be considered to  b<
located in   wetlands  or deepwate
habitats. Since landfills vary considerably
in size and  shape,  some of the landfill;
located  in the  1/2-mile radius and 1-mik
radius  regions containing  wetlands  o
deepwater habitats  will probably also b<
located in   wetlands  or deepwate
habitats. The exact  geographic boundar
of  the landfill  is  not   the   critica
consideration  for determining  adversi
impacts associated  with  these  facilities
since contaminants can migrate off-site t<
affect wetlands and deepwater habitats.

Results
  We obtained data on  the proximity c
96  sanitary landfills  in  the  state  c
Washington  to wetlands  and deepwate
habitats. There are  118 sanitary landfill
in the  DPRA  data  file for the  state <
Washington  and  96  (81 percent) of thes
facilities have NWI maps available for sit
interpretation.  As a result, 22 (19 percen
of the 118 sanitary landfills  in the state <
Washington are not included in thi
study.
  Approximately  45  percent of  th
sanitary landfills are located in or with
1/4 mile of  wetlands, while  74 and  
percent are  located  in or within 1/2 and

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 mile of wetlands, respectively (Figure 1).
 Only eight (8 percent) of the  landfills are
 located more than a mile from any type of
 wetland.  Most sanitary  landfills  are
 located either in or are close to Palustrine
 wetlands (approximately 40,  73, and  91
 percent  are  located in or within  1/4, 1/2,
 and 1  mile,  respectively, of  a  Palustrine
 wetland).
  Approximately  15  percent  of  the
 sanitary  landfills are located  in  or  within
 1/4 mile of deepwater habitats,  while 32
 and 54  percent are located  in  or  within
 1/2  and 1  mile of deepwater  habitats,
 respectively   (Figure 2).  Fourty-four (46
 percent) of the  landfills are located  more
 than a mile  from any  type of deepwater
 habitat.  Most of the  facilities  that are
 located in  or that are  close to deepwater
 habitats  are  in  the vicinity of Riverine or
 Lacustrine deepwater  habitats  (i.e.,  35
 percent are located in  or within  1 mile of
 a  Riverine  deepwater habitat   and 24
 percent  are located in or within  1 mile of
 a Lacustrine  deepwater habitat).
  Approximately  49  percent  of  the
 sanitary  landfills are located  in  or  within
 1/4 mile of either wetlands or deepwater
 habitats, while  80 and 93   percent are
 located  in or within 1/2  and 1  mile of
 either  wetlands  or  deepwater  habitats,
 respectively  (Figure 3). Seven (7  percent)
 )f the landfills  are  located more than  a
 mile from  either wetlands or deepwater
 habitats. Most of the sanitary landfills are
 located either in or are  close to Palustrine
 or  Riverine  habitats (approximately 40,
 73,  and 91   percent are located  in  or
 within 1/4,  1/2, and 1 mile, respectively, of
 a  Palustrine deepwater habitat  while
 approximately 18, 37, and 54 percent are
 located in  or within 1/4,  1/2,  and 1  mile,
 respectively, of a Riverine habitat).
  Coding procedures used to compile the
 data on  the  proximity  of waste  sites to
 wetlands and  deepwater habitats  are
 given in  the  "Data on Individual Landfills"
 report. Appendix B of that report presents
the data on  the  individual landfills in the
state of Washington.

 Conclusions
  Most sanitary  landfills included in the
state of Washington are located either in
or are close  to  wetlands. From  this, we
conclude that these facilities have the
potential  to   adversely affect  sensitive
ecosystems,  such  as  wetlands, either
through habitat  alterations or  through the
migration of   contaminants from  sanitary
landfills.  In addition, approximately half of
the  sanitary  landfills  in the  state  of
'Vashington are located either in or close
 ) deepwater  habitats and they also  have
 the potential for adversely affecting these
 sensitive ecosystems.
 Palustrine^
Lacustrine
  Riverine
 Estuarme
 Marine
   All
systems
         0              20
                                          Percent

  Figure 1. Proximity of 96 Washington sanitary landfills to wetlands.
Lacustrine
                                                                           91
                                             |j   In or within 1 mile

                                                  In or within 1/2 mile

                                                  In or within 1/4 mile
 Riverine
Estuarine
  Marine
   All
 systems
                                    35
                   10
                                       In or within 1 mile

                                       In or within 1/2 mile

                                       In or within 114 mile
;.i:i 4
r*
0
                                                 54
                        20
                            \

                           40
 \

60
 I

80
                                                                                100
                                           Percent

 Figure 2.  Proximity of 96 Washington sanitary landfills to deepwater habitats.

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                     Palustrinei
                                                                     54
                             |PM-.:.i;;si! a
                     Estuarinem ,,'""
                                                                                             91
                                                                                73
                                                          37
                                                   In or within 1 mile

                                                   In or within 1/2 mile

                                                   In or within 1/4 mile
                     Marine
                        All
                     systems
                            0
                                                             Percent

                      Figure 3. Proximity of 96 Washington sanitary landfills to either closest wetland or deepwater habitat.
The EPA author,  Victor W.  Lambou  (also the EPA Project Officer, see  below), is with Environmental  Monitoring  System
   Laboratory, Las Vegas,  NV 89193-3478; J.E. Moerlins and R.C. Herndon are with Florida State University,  Tallahassee, F,
   32306; and R.L Gebhard is with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, St. Petersburg, FL 33702
The complete report, consists of two volumes  entitled  "Proximity of Washington Sanitary Landfills to  Wetlands and  Deepwate
   Habitats:"
     'Volume I. Statewide Results" (Order No. PB 90-164 849/AS; Cost $15.00, subject to change).
     'Volume II. Data on Individual Landfills," (Order No. PB 90-164 857/AS; Cost $15.00, subject to change).
The above reports will be available only from:
         National Technical Information Service
         5285 Port Royal Road
         Springfield, VA 22161
         Telephone: 703-487-4650
The EPA Project Officer can be contacted at:
         Environmental Monitoring Systems Laboratory
         U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
         Las Vegas, NV 89193-3478
United States
Environmental Protection
Agency
Center for Environmental Research
Information
Cincinnati OH 45268
Official Business
Penalty for Private Use $300
EPA/600/S4-89/042

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