The department’s Waste Management Program (WMP) protects public health and the environment by working with Missouri individuals, businesses, industry, governments and schools to make sure they know how to safely collect, handle and dispose of their waste. Per capita, each Missourian generates over one ton of solid waste each year. The main goal of waste management is to reduce the amount of waste produced and properly manage the rest. If waste is released to the environment, the program performs and oversees the environmental investigation and cleanup activities.
The WMP reviews permit applications and issues solid and hazardous waste permits and permit modifications to solid waste disposal and processing facilities, hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities, and hazardous waste sites requiring corrective action. Staff review proposed permits for facility design, construction, operations, and proper monitoring controls. Staff assist the department’s regional offices with inspections of hazardous waste generators, hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities, permitted solid waste facilities, and hazardous waste haulers. In addition, staff investigate reports of illegal dumping and other solid and hazardous waste related concerns across Missouri. The WMP conducts enforcement activities when necessary to ensure proper management of hazardous waste and solid waste to protect human health, safety and Missouri’s water, land, and air resources.
The program oversees the cleanup of illegal scrap tire dumpsites, conducts scrap tire inspections and investigations, provides funding to nonprofit groups to clean up dumpsites with less than 500 scrap tires, and awards scrap tire material grants that promote the use of scrap tire materials in new products. This work is funded by a 50-cent fee assessed on each new tire purchased in Missouri.
Other focuses of the program include planning, financial and technical assistance, and educational activities that inform the public of the relationship between an individual’s consumption of goods and proper solid waste management as well as proper management of hazardous waste. The WMP works with stakeholders, the general public, and regulated facilities to comply with state and federal hazardous and solid waste laws and regulations. Further, the WMP works closely with the Environmental Remediation Program to carry out the policies of the Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Commission and to coordinate on sites requiring remediation or cleanup.
Meet the Director - Charlene Fitch, P.E.
Charlene Fitch became director of the Waste Management Program, effective Aug. 1, 2023. Charlene has worked for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for more than three decades. She started her career as a permit writer in the Solid Waste Management Program. Most recently Charlene served as Chief of RCRA permitting in the Waste Management Program, overseeing both hazardous waste and solid waste permitting actions.
Charlene holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla, with Masters’ work in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is a licensed professional engineer, as well as a graduate of the department's Leadership Ladder and Missouri’s Leadership Academy.