The working face of an active sanitary landfill

A solid waste landfill (disposal area) is any area used to dispose solid waste from more than one residence or from any commercial, industrial, manufacturing, recreational or governmental operation. Types of disposal areas include sanitary landfills, demolition landfills and utility waste landfills. According to Code of State Regulations 10 CSR 80-2, companies that want to construct or operate a solid waste disposal area in Missouri are required to obtain the necessary solid waste permits, as described below. The permits are legally binding, enforceable documents that list what solid wastes can be accepted and identify any special handling requirements. Only solid wastes for which the facility has been specifically designed and performance tested to manage can be accepted. 

For information about certification and recertification information for landfill operators, visit Solid Waste Technician Certification. For information about landfill monitoring and reporting requirements, visit Solid Waste Landfill Monitoring and Reporting.

Permit Process

There are five steps in the permitting process for a solid waste disposal area, and each step has specific time frames that must be met. Each step involves gaining an approval before the next step can be taken. If the permit application meets all statutory and regulatory requirements and the local governmental authority confirms the proposed facility meets all local requirements, the department must issue a permit. The department does not choose locations for proposed facilities and does not have the authority to override the local governmental authority’s decision regarding local requirements.

1. Preliminary Site Investigation

The permit applicant requests a Preliminary Site Investigation Request through the department's Geologic Evaluation Data Gateway Exchange (GeoEDGE). As soon as a request is received, representatives of the department's Geologic Survey Program will visit the proposed disposal area and perform a general site evaluation. They will investigate the site's soils, geology and hydro-geology and look for geologic structures such as faults, springs, etc. The Geologic Survey Program must approve or disapprove the preliminary site investigation within 60 days of receiving the request.

2. Detailed Site Investigation Workplan

After receiving approval of the preliminary site investigation, the permit applicant must prepare a detailed site investigation workplan. This workplan outlines the steps that will be taken to thoroughly and adequately characterize the site for hydrologic and geologic interpretations. The elements and format of the workplan are listed in 10 CSR 80-2, Appendix 1. The Geologic Survey Program must approve or disapprove the detailed site investigation workplan within 30 days of receiving the workplan.

3. Geologic and Hydrologic Site Characterization Report

After receiving approval of the detailed site investigation workplan, the permit applicant must investigate and characterize the geology and hydrology of the site according to the approved workplan. The permit applicant must interpret and summarize the geologic and hydrologic characteristics of the site in a detailed site investigation report. All geologic and hydrologic data collection and interpretation must be under the direction of a geologist registered in the state of Missouri. The applicant submits the investigation report to the Geologic Survey Program for review. The Geologic Survey Program must approve or disapprove the detailed site investigation report within 60 days of receiving the report.

4. Construction Permit

The permit applicant applies for a construction permit after the detailed site investigation report is approved. A construction permit must be obtained before any construction activities begin, including clearing vegetation or earth work. The permit applicant must schedule a meeting with the department’s Waste Management Program before submitting the construction permit application. To apply for a construction permit, the permit applicant submits the following information:

  • Permit application fee
  • A complete Application For Solid Waste Disposal Area Or Processing Facility Construction Permit - MO 780-0393 form. Permits are now issued to both the “owner” and “operator”, as defined in 10 CSR 80-2.010 (67) and (68). The appropriate parties should sign the application form. Verification that the appropriate person has signed as the “owner” of the land on which the facility is located is required.
  • Engineering plans and specifications for the design and operation of the facility. The plans and specifications must address each of the applicable sections in the Missouri Solid Waste Management Rules, 10 CSR 80. The regulations require that the plans and specifications be prepared or approved by a professional engineer registered in Missouri.
  • Evidence of compliance with all applicable local planning and zoning requirements, as required in 10 CSR 80-2.020(6). If the local county and/or city do not have planning and zoning requirements, the applicant needs to provide letters from the local county and/or city officials stating this. Applications submitted without this information will be returned to the applicant as incomplete.
  • Evidence of financial responsibility
  • Copy of the approved detailed site investigation report
  • Closure and post-closure plans
  • Names and addresses of all recorded owners of real property located either next to or within 1,000 feet of the proposed solid waste disposal area

According to Missouri Revised Statues section 260.003, RSMo, before the department can issue a construction or operating permit or a grant of authority, the local jurisdiction must verify the facility that is the subject of the permit or grant of authority is in compliance with all applicable local zoning, building and health codes, ordinances and orders with regards to the regulated activity. The department is legally required to request this verification, in addition to the permit applicant providing proof of local approval. The department must obtain this verification before a permit can be issued. After the construction permit is issued, the permit applicant may begin construction activities. Construction permits are transferable as a permit modification.

5. Operating Permit

The permit applicant applies for an operating permit after all pre-operational features have been constructed. An operating permit must be obtained before the solid waste landfill may begin accepting waste. To request an operating permit, the permit applicant submits the following information:

  • A letter, sent by certified mail and signed by the owner/operator and a professional engineer, stating the pre-operational features of the solid waste processing facility have been completed in compliance with the construction permit and approved engineering plans
  • Any necessary as-built drawings

The department will conduct an inspection to make sure all features were constructed according to the approved plans and permit. If an operating permit is issued, it is effective for the life of the facility. Operating permits are transferable as a permit modification.

Review Timeline

It takes approximately five years to complete the entire permitting process, from starting the site investigation to receiving waste at a landfill. The Missouri Solid Waste Management Law establishes the time frames for issuing permits. 

Site Investigation and Characterization

  • The department's Geologic Survey Program (GSP) will conduct a preliminary site investigation and approve or disapprove the site for further investigation within 60 days of receiving a Preliminary Site Investigation request
  • The department must hold a public awareness session within 90 days after the preliminary site investigation approval, providing public notice of the session at least 30 days in advance
  • The GSP will review and approve or disapprove the detailed site investigation workplan within 30 days of receiving the plan
  • At least 60 days before the permit applicant submits the detailed site investigation to the department, the applicant must conduct a community involvement session. Public notice of the session must be provided at least 30 days in advance.
  • A public comment period begins on the day of the community involvement session and continues for at least 30 days 
  • The applicant must respond to all comments no more than 30 days after receiving the comments
  • The GSP will review the site investigation and characterization report and approve or disapprove the site within 60 days of receiving the detailed site investigation

Construction Permit

  • The department must approve or deny a construction permit application within 12 consecutive months of receiving the permit application
  • The department will complete a review of the application within 90 days of receiving the initial application and within 180 days of receiving subsequent revisions
  • The permit applicant must respond to the department's requests for information or comment letters within 90 days
  • If the department does not receive the requested information within 90 days, the application review may be terminated and the application denied
  • The department must conduct a public hearing on the draft permit, providing public notice of the hearing at least 30 days in advance

Operating Permit

  • The department must issue or deny an operating permit within 60 days of receiving the permit application

Public Participation

The department and permit applicant conduct several public participation activities throughout the permitting process, as detailed in section 260.205, RSMo. Below is a table listing the type of activity and when it is held.

Public Participation Activities
Type of Activity When Held Purpose
Public Awareness Session After the department approves the preliminary site investigation The department provides general information to interested citizens about the design and operations of solid waste disposal areas and the permitting process in general.
Community Involvement Session After the applicant finishes the detailed site investigation, but before submitting the report to the department. The permit applicant updates the public on the progress of the subsurface investigation and gathers input from the public.
Public Comment Period Begins the day of the Community Involvement Session and continues for at least 30 days. Allows the public additional time to submit comments on the proposed solid waste disposal area. The permit applicant will respond to all comments received during the public comment period. 
Public Hearing After the department issues a draft construction permit. The department shares its decision regarding the construction permit application and discusses the draft construction permit.

For public notice information about any currently proposed solid waste disposal areas, public comment periods or public meetings and hearings scheduled, visit Public Notices/ Public Comments