In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, each county is required by Act 101 to update its solid waste management plan every ten years. The primary purpose of these plan updates is to ensure that sufficient landfill capacity is reserved to meet the solid waste disposal needs of the county’s current and projected future population for a ten-year period. These plans, originally mandated decades ago as a response to widespread illegal dumping of trash and concerns about resulting environmental contamination, have grown to encompass a wider scope of research, information gathering, and the preparation of recommendations. These plans typically include evaluations of new technologies, recycling services, public education and outreach opportunities, and alternative policy models for municipalities, with the goals of reducing waste generation, minimizing waste disposal, and encouraging increased recycling.
The Five-County Regional Solid Waste Management Plan effort began in 2008, when several counties entered into initial discussions to work together to craft a unique, regional plan that would more cost-effectively and strategically address the needs of the region. Five counties—Union, Snyder, Montour, Columbia, and Lycoming—ultimately decided to work together and move forward with the regional concept. A lead planner was designated by each county to form the Steering Committee, and Lycoming County was selected as the lead county responsible for coordinating all of the entities involved. Grant support was secured from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) to partially fund the planning effort. Between 2010 and 2012, a consulting team was selected, initial public outreach meetings were held, several stakeholder work groups were formed, extensive research effort began, alternatives were discussed, and the resulting plan was drafted.
In 2012, the result of all this hard work was brought forward for adoption, as the draft plan went through a nearly year-long vetting process:
- Five public meetings were held in June—one in each county at varying times of day to encourage public attendance. Each meeting included a presentation summarizing the plan and a time for the public to ask questions and submit comments.
- Each of the five counties formally adopted the Plan.
The Plan underwent a ninety-day municipal ratification period. PA DEP required each county to meet a threshold: Fifty percent or more of the municipalities must adopt the plan, and they must represent at least fifty percent of the county’s population. We are pleased to report that municipal ratification threshold was exceeded by a wide margin in each county.
View the Regional Solid Waste
Management Plan at: