USA: Subtitle D Regulations
The passage of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) in 1976 was bound to influence international waste management to some degree, in part because of the enormous buried waste sector in the United States. RCRA’s Subtitle D code pertained to municipal solid waste, and by the early 1980s the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was moving Subtitle D to require geosynthetics for longterm lining protection of soils and groundwater. This provided a strong connection between the fields of waste management and geosynthetics, one which would provide a significant scale for projects and study. Double liner systems (primary and secondary liners) have become common and highly effective solutions for containment in municipal solid waste and hazardous waste cells. The effectiveness of geosynthetics in base lining systems and cover systems has led to waste management being the most highly rated sector of infrastructure in the United States (ASCE Report Card on American Infrastructure). Also, the strong record in solid waste has led the US EPA to require similar geosyntheticbased systems for containing the nation’s large coal ash deposits. Overall, the experiences of Germany and the United States underscore why geosynthetics are so welcomed in regulation. They are supported by an extensive record of performance, have demonstrated steady improvements in installation efficiency and techniques and provide quantifiable, repeatable testing and data to support confidence in the chemical compatibility, design suitability, economical selection and more for waste management.