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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 9. Environment
Agency 20. Virginia Waste Management Board
Chapter 81. Solid Waste Management Regulations

9VAC20-81-600. Modification of permits.

A. Permits may be modified at the request of any interested person or upon the director's initiative. However, permits may only be modified for the reasons specified in subsections E and F of this section. All requests shall be in writing and shall contain facts or reasons supporting the request. Any permit modification authorizing expansion of an existing sanitary landfill shall incorporate the conditions required for a disposal capacity guarantee in § 10.1-1408.1 P of the Code of Virginia. This provision does not apply to permit applications from one or more political subdivisions that will only accept waste from within those political subdivisions' jurisdiction or municipal solid waste generated within other political subdivisions pursuant to an interjurisdictional agreement.

B. If the director decides the request is not justified, he shall send the requester a response providing justification for the decision.

C. If the director tentatively decides to modify, he shall prepare a draft permit incorporating the proposed changes. The director may request additional information and may require the submission of an updated permit application. In a permit modification under subsection E of this section, only those conditions to be modified shall be reopened when a new draft permit is prepared. All other aspects of the existing permit shall remain in effect. During any modification proceeding the permittee shall comply with all conditions of the existing permit until the modified permit is issued.

D. When the director receives any information, he may determine whether or not one or more of the causes listed for modification exist. If cause exists, the director may modify the permit on his own initiative subject to the limitations of subsection E of this section and may request an updated application if necessary. If a permit modification satisfies the criteria in subsection F of this section for minor modifications, the permit may be modified without a draft permit or public review. Otherwise, a draft permit shall be prepared and other appropriate procedures followed.

E. Causes for modification. The director may modify a permit upon his own initiative or at the request of a third party:

1. When there are material and substantial alterations or additions to the permitted facility or activity that occurred after permit issuance that justify the application of permit conditions that are different or absent in the existing permit;

2. When there is found to be a possibility of pollution causing significant adverse effects on the air, land, surface water, or groundwater;

3. When an investigation has shown the need for additional equipment, construction, procedures and testing to ensure the protection of the public health and the environment from adverse effects;

4. If the director has received information pertaining to circumstances or conditions existing at the time the permit was issued that was not included in the administrative record and would have justified the application of different permit conditions, the permit may be modified accordingly if in the judgment of the director such modification is necessary to prevent significant adverse effects on public health or the environment;

5. When the standards or regulations on which the permit was based have been changed by promulgation of amended standards or regulations or by judicial decision after the permit was issued;

6. When the director determines good cause exists for modification of a compliance schedule, such as an act of God, strike, flood, or material shortage or other events over which the permittee has little or no control and for which there is no reasonably available remedy;

7. When a modification of a closure plan is required under 9VAC20-81-160, 9VAC20-81-360, or 9VAC20-81-800 and the permittee has failed to submit a permit modification request within the specified period;

8. When the corrective action program specified in the permit under 9VAC20-81-260 or 9VAC20-81-800 has not brought the facility into compliance with the groundwater protection standard within a reasonable period of time; or

9. When cause exists for revocation under 9VAC20-81-570 and the director determines that a modification is more appropriate.

F. Permit modification at the request of the permittee.



1. Implementation of a groundwater corrective action program as required by 9VAC20-81-260 or 9VAC20-81-800

2. Change in the remedy applied as part of the groundwater corrective action program

3. Groundwater monitoring plan for an existing facility where no written plan has previously been provided

4. Changes to the design of final closure cover

5. Landfill mining

6. Reduction in the postclosure care period

7. Changes in postclosure use of the property with disturbance of cover

8. All new or modifications of a leachate collection tank or a leachate collection surface impoundment

9. Addition of new landfill units

10. Expansion or increase in capacity

11. Increase in daily disposal limit

12. Addition or modification of a liner, leachate collection system, leachate detection system

13. Incorporation or modification of a Research, Development, and Demonstration Plan


Any change not specified as major modification (above) or a permittee change (below)


1. Correction of typographical errors

2. Equipment replacement or upgrade with functionally equivalent components

3. Replacement of an existing leachate tank with a tank that meets the same design standards and has a capacity within +/-10% of the replaced tank

4. Replacement with functionally equivalent, upgrade, or relocation of emergency equipment

5. Changes in name, address, or phone number of contact personnel

6. Replacement of an existing well that has been damaged or rendered nonoperable, without change to location, design, or depth of the well

7. Changes to the expected year of final closure, where other permit conditions are not changed

8. Changes in postclosure use of the property, without disturbance of the cover

9. Modification of a leachate tank management practice

1. Permittee change. Items listed under Permittee Change in Table 5.2 may be implemented without approval of the department. If a permittee changes such an item, the permittee shall:

a. Notify the department of the change at least 14 calendar days before the change is put into effect, indicating the affected permit conditions; and

b. Notify the governing body of the county, city, or town in which the facility is located, within 90 calendar days after the change is put into effect.

2. Minor modifications.

a. Minor modifications apply to minor changes that keep the permit current with routine changes to the facility or its operation. These changes do not substantially alter the permit conditions or reduce the capacity of the facility to protect human health or the environment.

b. Minor modifications may be requested for changes that will result in a facility being more protective of human health and the environment or equivalent to the standards contained in this chapter, unless otherwise noted in Table 5.2. The request for such a minor permit modification will be accompanied by a description of the desired change and an explanation of the manner in which the health and environment will be protected in a greater degree than required by the chapter.

c. Minor permit modifications may be made only with the prior written approval of the department. The permittee shall notify the department that a minor modification is being requested. Notification of the department shall be provided by certified mail or other means that establish proof of delivery. This notice shall specify the changes being made to permit conditions or supporting documents referenced by the permit and shall include an explanation of why they are necessary. Along with the notice, the permittee shall provide the applicable information required by 9VAC20-81-460 and 9VAC20-81-470 or as required by 9VAC20-81-480.

d. The permittee shall send a notice of the modification to the governing body of the county, city or town in which the facility is located. This notification shall be made within 90 days after the department approves the request.

3. Major modifications.

a. Major modifications substantially alter the facility or its operation. Major modifications are listed in Table 5.2.

b. The permittee shall submit a modification request to the department that:

(1) Describes the exact change to be made to the permit conditions and supporting documents referenced by the permit;

(2) Identifies that the alteration is a major modification;

(3) Contains an explanation of why the modification is needed; and

(4) Provides the applicable information required by 9VAC20-81-460 and 9VAC20-81-470, by 9VAC20-81-460 and 9VAC20-81-475, or as required by 9VAC20-81-480.

c. No later than 90 days after receipt of the notification request, the director will determine whether the information submitted under subdivision 3 b (4) of this subsection is adequate to formulate a decision. If found to be inadequate, the permittee will be requested to furnish additional information within 30 days of the request by the director to complete the modification request record. The 30-day period may be extended at the request of the applicant. After the completion of the record, the director will either:

(1) Approve the modification request, with or without changes, and draft a permit modification accordingly;

(2) Deny the request; or

(3) Approve the request, with or without changes, as a temporary authorization having a term of up to 180 days in accordance with subdivision 3 of this subsection.

d. If the director proposes to approve the permit modification, he will proceed with the permit issuance in accordance with 9VAC20-81-450 E.

e. The director may deny or change the terms of a major permit modification request under subdivision F 3 b of this section for the following reasons:

(1) The modification request is incomplete;

(2) The requested modification does not comply with the appropriate requirements of Part III (9VAC20-81-100 et seq.), Part IV (9VAC20-81-300 et seq.), or Part VIII (9VAC20-81-800 et seq.) of this chapter or other applicable requirements; or

(3) The conditions of the modification fail to protect human health and the environment.

4. Temporary authorizations.

a. Upon request of the permittee, the director may, without prior public notice and comment, grant the permittee a temporary authorization in accordance with the requirements of subdivision 4 of this subsection. Temporary authorizations shall have a term of not more than 180 days.

b. (1) The permittee may request a temporary authorization for any major modification that meets the criteria in subdivision 4 c (2) (a) or (b) of this subsection; or that meets the criteria in subdivision 4 c (2) (c) and (d) of this subsection and provides improved management or treatment of a solid waste already listed in the facility permit.

(2) The temporary authorization request shall include:

(a) A description of the activities to be conducted under the temporary authorization;

(b) An explanation of why the temporary authorization is necessary; and

(c) Sufficient information to ensure compliance with the standards of Part III (9VAC20-81-100 et seq.), Part IV (9VAC20-81-300 et seq.), or Part VIII (9VAC20-81-800 et seq.) of this chapter.

(3) The permittee shall send a notice about the temporary authorization request to all persons on the facility mailing list. This notification shall be made within seven days of submission of the authorization request.

c. The director shall approve or deny the temporary authorization as quickly as practical. To issue a temporary authorization, the director shall find:

(1) The authorized activities are in compliance with the standards of Part III (9VAC20-81-100 et seq.), Part IV (9VAC20-81-300 et seq.), or Part VIII (9VAC20-81-800 et seq.) of this chapter.

(2) The temporary authorization is necessary to achieve one of the following objectives before action is likely to be taken on an modification request:

(a) To facilitate timely implementation of closure or corrective action activities;

(b) To prevent disruption of ongoing waste management activities;

(c) To enable the permittee to respond to sudden changes in the types or quantities of the wastes managed under the facility permit; or

(d) To facilitate other changes to protect human health and the environment.

d. A temporary authorization may be reissued for one additional term of up to 180 days provided that the permittee has requested a major permit modification for the activity covered in the temporary authorization, and the director determines that the reissued temporary authorization involving a major permit modification request is warranted to allow the authorized activities to continue while the modification procedures of subdivision 3 of this subsection are conducted.

5. The director's decision to grant or deny a permit modification request under subdivision of this subsection may be appealed under the case decision provisions of the Virginia Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq. of the Code of Virginia).

6. Newly defined or identified wastes. The permitted facility is authorized to continue to manage wastes defined or identified as solid waste under 9VAC20-81-95 if:

a. It was in existence as a solid waste management facility with respect to the newly defined or identified solid waste on the effective date of the final rule defining or identifying the waste; and

b. It is in compliance with the standards of Part III (9VAC20-81-100 et seq.), Part IV (9VAC 20-81-300 et seq.), or Part VIII (9VAC20-81-800 et seq.) of this chapter, as applicable, with respect to the new waste, submits a minor modification request on or before the date on which the waste becomes subject to the new requirements; or

c. It is not in compliance with the standards of Part III (9VAC 20-81-100 et seq.), Part IV (9VAC 20-81-300 et seq.), or Part VIII (9VAC20-81-800 et seq.) of this chapter, as applicable, with respect to the new waste, also submits a complete permit modification request within 180 days after the effective date of the definition or identifying the waste.

7. Research, development and demonstration plans. Research, development and demonstration (RDD) plans may be submitted for sanitary landfills that meet the applicability requirements. These plans shall be submitted as a major permit modification application for existing sanitary landfills or as a part of the Part B application for new sanitary landfills.

a. Applicability.

(1) RDD shall be restricted to permitted sanitary landfills designed with a composite liner system, as required by 9VAC20-81-130 J 1. The effectiveness of the liner system and leachate collection system shall be demonstrated in the plan and shall be assessed at the end of the testing period in order to compare the effectiveness of the systems to the start of the RDD testing period.

(2) Operating permitted sanitary landfills that have exceeded groundwater protection standards at statistically significant levels in accordance with 9VAC20-81-250 B, from any waste unit on site shall have implemented a remedy in accordance with 9VAC20-81-260 C prior to the RDD plan submittal. Operating permitted sanitary landfills that have an exceedance in the concentration of methane gas migrating from the landfill in accordance with 9VAC20-81-200 shall have a gas control system in place per 9VAC20-81-200 B prior to the RDD plan submittal.

(3) An owner or operator of a sanitary landfill that disposes of 20 tons of municipal solid waste per day or less, based on annual average, may not apply for a modification to include a RDD plan.

(4) The sanitary landfill shall have a leachate collection system designed and constructed to maintain less than a 30 cm depth of leachate on the liner.

b. Requirements.

(1) RDD Plans may be submitted for activities such as:

(a) The addition of liquids in addition to leachate and gas condensate from the same landfill for accelerated decomposition of the waste mass;

(b) Allowing run-on water to flow into the landfill waste mass;

(c) Allowing testing of the construction and infiltration performance of alternative final cover systems; and

(d) For other measures to be taken to enhance stabilization of the waste mass.

(2) No landfill owner or operator may continue to implement an RDD plan beyond any time limit placed in the initial plan approval or any renewal without issuance of written prior approval by the department. Justification for renewals shall be based upon information in annual and final reports as well as research and findings in technical literature.

(3) RDD plans may not include changes to the approved design and construction of subgrade preparation, liner system, leachate collection and removal systems, final cover system, gas and leachate systems outside the limits of waste, run-off controls, run-on controls, or environmental monitoring systems exterior to the waste mass.

(4) Implementation of an approved RDD plan shall comply with the specific conditions of the RDD Plan as approved in the permit for the initial testing period and any renewal.

(5) Structures and features exterior to the waste mass or waste final grades shall be removed at the end of the testing period, unless otherwise approved by the department in writing.

(6) The RDD plan may propose an alternate final cover installation schedule.

c. An RDD plan shall include the following details and specifications. Processes other than adding liquids to the waste mass and leachate recirculation may be practiced in conjunction with the RDD plan.

(1) Initial applications for RDD plans shall be submitted for review and approval prior to the initiation of the process to be tested. These plans shall specify the process that will be tested, describe preparation and operation of the process, describe waste types and characteristics that the process will affect, describe desired changes and end points that the process is intended to achieve, define testing methods and observations of the process or waste mass that are necessary to assess effectiveness of the process, and include technical literature references and research that support use of the process. The plans shall specify the time period for which the process will be tested. The plans shall specify the additional information, operating experience, data generation, or technical developments that the process to be tested is expected to generate.

(2) The test period for the initial application shall be limited to a maximum of three years.

(3) Renewals of testing periods shall be limited to a maximum of three years each. The maximum number of renewals shall be limited to three.

(4) Renewals shall require department review and approval of reports of performance and progress on achievement of goals specified in the RDD plan.

(5) RDD Plans for addition of liquids, in addition to leachate and gas condensate from the same landfill, for accelerated decomposition of the waste mass or for allowing run-on water to flow into the landfill waste mass shall demonstrate that there is no increased risk to human health and the environment. The following minimum performance criteria shall be demonstrated.

(a) Risk of contamination to groundwater or surface water will not be greater than the risk without an approved RDD plan.

(b) Stability analysis demonstrating the physical stability of the landfill.

(c) Landfill gas collection and control in accordance with applicable Clean Air Act requirements (i.e., Title V, NSPS or EG rule, etc.).

(d) For RDD plans that include the addition of offsite nonhazardous waste liquids to the landfill, the following information shall be submitted with the RDD plan:

(i) Demonstration of adequate facility liquid storage volume to receive the offsite liquid;

(ii) A list of proposed characteristics for screening the accepted liquids is developed; and

(iii) The quantity and quality of the liquids are compatible with the RDD plan.

If offsite nonhazardous liquids are certified by the offsite generator as stormwater uncontaminated by solid waste, screening is not required for this liquid.

(6) RDD plans for testing of the construction and infiltration performance of alternative final cover systems shall demonstrate that there is no increased risk to human health and the environment. The proposed final cover system shall be as protective as the final cover system required by 9VAC20-81-160 D. The following minimum performance criteria shall be demonstrated:

(a) No build up of excess liquid in the waste and on the landfill liner;

(b) Stability analysis demonstrating the physical stability of the landfill;

(c) No moisture will escape from the landfill to the surface water or groundwater; and

(d) Sufficient reduction in infiltration so that there will be no leakage of leachate from the landfill.

(7) RDD plans that evaluate introduction of liquids in addition to leachate or gas condensate from the same landfill shall propose measures to be integrated with any approved leachate recirculation plan and compliance with requirements for leachate recirculation.

(8) RDD plans shall include a description of warning symptoms and failure thresholds that will be used to initiate investigation, stand-by, termination, and changes to the process and any other landfill systems that might be affected by the process, such as gas extraction and leachate recirculation. Warning symptoms shall result in a reduction or suspension of liquids addition, leachate recirculation, investigation, and changes to be implemented before resuming the process being tested. Failure thresholds shall result in termination of the process being tested, investigation, and changes that will be submitted to the department for review and approval in writing prior to resumption of the process being tested.

(9) RDD plans shall include an assessment of the manner in which the process to be tested might alter the impact that the landfill may have on human health or environmental quality. The assessment shall include both beneficial and deleterious effects that could result from the process.

(10) RDD plans shall include a geotechnical stability analysis of the waste mass and an assessment of the changes that the implementation of the plan is expected to achieve. The geotechnical stability analysis and assessment shall be repeated at the end of testing period, with alteration as needed to include parameters and parameter values derived from field measurements. The plan shall define relevant parameters and techniques for field measurement.

(11) RDD plans shall propose monitoring parameters, frequencies, test methods, instrumentation, recordkeeping and reporting to the department for purposes of tracking and verifying goals of the process selected for testing.

(12) RDD plans shall propose monitoring techniques and instrumentation for potential movements of waste mass and settlement of waste mass, including proposed time intervals and instrumentation, pertinent to the process selected for testing.

(13) RDD plans shall propose construction documentation, construction quality control and construction quality assurance measures, and recordkeeping for construction and equipment installation that is part of the process selected for testing.

(14) RDD plans shall propose operating practices and controls, staffing, monitoring parameters, and equipment needed to support operations of the process selected for testing.

(15) RDD plans that include aeration of the waste mass shall include a temperature monitoring plan, a fire drill and safety program, instructions for use of liquids for control of temperature and fires in the waste mass, and instructions for investigation and repair of damage to the liner and leachate collection system.

(16) RDD plans may include an alternate interim cover system and final cover installation schedule. The interim cover system shall be designed to account for weather conditions, slope stability, and leachate and gas generation. The interim cover shall also control, at a minimum, disease vectors, fires, odors, blowing litter, and scavenging.

d. Reporting. An annual report shall be prepared for each year of the RDD testing period, including any renewal periods, and a final report shall be prepared for the end of the testing period. These reports shall assess the attainment of goals proposed for the process selected for testing, recommend changes, recommend further work, and summarize problems and their resolution. Reports shall include a summary of all monitoring data, testing data and observations of process or effects and shall include recommendations for continuance or termination of the process selected for testing. Annual reports shall be submitted to the department within three months after the anniversary date of the approved permit or permit modification. Final reports shall be submitted at least 90 days prior to the end of the testing period for evaluation by the department. The department shall review this report within 90 days. If the department's evaluation indicates that the goals of the project have been met, are reliable and predictable, the department will provide a minor permit modification to incorporate the continued operation of the project with the appropriate monitoring.

e. Termination. The department may require modifications to or immediate termination of the RDD process being tested if any of the following conditions occur:

(1) Significant and persistent odors;

(2) Significant leachate seeps or surface exposure of leachate;

(3) Significant leachate head on the liner;

(4) Excessively acidic leachate chemistry or gas production rates or other monitoring data indicate poor waste decomposition conditions;

(5) Instability in the waste mass; or

(6) Other persistent and deleterious effects.

The RDD program is an optional participation program, by accepting the modification or new permit, the applicant acknowledges that the program is optional; and that they are aware the department may provide suspension or termination of the RDD program for any reasonable cause, without a public hearing. Notice of suspension or termination will be by letter for a cause related to a technical problem, nuisance problem, or for protection of human health or the environment as determined by the department.

G. Facility siting. The suitability of the facility location will not be considered at the time of permit modification unless new information or standards indicate that an endangerment to human health or the environment exists which was unknown at the time of permit issuance or the modification is for an expansion or increase in capacity.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-1402 of the Code of Virginia; 42 USC § 6941 et seq.; 40 CFR Parts 257 and 258.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 27, Issue 12, eff. March 16, 2011; amended, Virginia Register Volume 27, Issue 22, eff. August 3, 2011; Volume 32, Issue 9, eff. January 27, 2016.

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