MDE's Solid Waste Program (SWP) is responsible for assuring that society's domestic, commercial, and non-hazardous industrial solid waste is handled prope​rly. Improper handling of these wastes can pose direct threats to both public health and Maryland's natural resources, particularly water resources. Since 1914, Maryland has had laws requiring solid waste be handled in a manner that minimizes the risk posed to public health and the environment. The impact caused by poor waste disposal practices include: 
  • pollution of groundwater, which many Marylanders rely on for drinking water supplies;
  • pollution of surface water, with the potential for impacting drinking​ water supplies of many of the large municipalities in Maryland (e.g. Baltimore City); and,
  • health nuisances such as odor, rats, flies, and mosquitoes.

Solid Waste Acceptance Facilities

MDE regulates Solid Waste Acceptance (SWA) facilities to ensure the proper disposal of solid waste in an environmentally acceptable manner while protecting the public health and the environment, including surface and groundwater. A Refuse Disposal (RD) Permit is required for the installation, alteration, or extension of a SWA facility. The RD Permit regulates the design, construction, operation, and monitoring of such facilities to minimize the impact on public health and the environment. Municipal, rubble, and some industrial waste landfills are required to have liners and leachate collection systems that facilitate the collection of leachate and prevent migration of pollutants out of the landfill to adjacent subsurface soil, groundwater, and surface water. (The term leachate is used to describe the liquid formed when precipitation soaks into landfill waste and migrates downward through waste due to gravity. As liquids move through the waste, they may extract substances leaching out of the waste - hence the term leachate) With some exceptions, processing and transfer activities are required to be conducted in an enclosed building to control odor, dust, noise, and the like. For a complete list of permitted SWA facilities, see the Permitted Facilities page.

SWA facilities, which are regulated by a RD Permit, include:

  • Municipal landfills
  • Rubble [construction and demolition (C&D) debris] landfills
  • Non-hazardous industrial waste landfills
  • Land clearing debris landfills
  • Waste-to-energy facilities
  • Municipal incinerators
  • Special medical waste incinerators
  • Special medical waste processing facilities
  • Solid waste processing facilities
  • Solid waste transfer stations.

Natural Wood Waste Recycling Facilities

A NWWR Facility is a facility that accepts natural wood waste such as tree stumps and limbs, brush, root mats, logs, leaves, grass clippings, unadulterated wood wastes, and other natural vegetative materials that are generated when land is cleared for construction purposed. These facilities produce a variety of products including wood chips, mulch, compost, and firewood, which may be sold to consumers. These facilities are valued because they prevent natural wood waste from entering the landfill and make useful products from such waste. Recycling natural wood waste saves valuable space, thereby extending the life of landfills in Maryland. An individual or general NWWR Facility Permit is required for persons constructing and operating such a facility.  For a complete list of permitted NWWR facilities, see the Permitted Facilities​ page.  

Natural Wood Waste Fact Sheet - A fact sheet concerning the NWWR regulations.

Composting Facilities

Composting of organic material can be a useful way to recycle materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Larger-scale commercial, governmental, or cooperative composting activities can potentially have negative environmental impacts such as water pollution, the risk of fire, and the development of significant health nuisances such as odor and the attraction of disease vectors such as rates and flies.  For more information on composting of materials other than NWW, see MDE's Organics Diversion and Composting ​page.

Regulation of the Open Burning of Solid Waste

Open burn permits issued by the local health officer can help to address air pollution, nuisance, and public safety concerns when all applicable laws and regulations are followed. The Land and Materials Administration, with input from the Air and Radiation Management Administration, has put together guidance in an effort to clarify the appropriate application of open burning regulations.

Open Burning Fact Sheet ​ - This fact sheet describes the regulatory requirements and provides examples of when materials that are solid waste can and can't be burned.

Solid Waste Program Public Meetings or Hearings:

For the most up to date information on public meetings or hearings, visit the MDE Calendar Page.

Tolson and Associates Rubble Landfill Expansion Application

The active Tolson and Associates Rubble Landfill is currently permitted under Refuse Disposal Permit # 2003-WRF-0580, issued to Tolson and Associates, LLC. Tolson and Associates, LLC has applied to expand the existing landfill laterally from 72.38 acres to 118.5 acres, increase the height of the landfill from 230 feet above mean sea level (Ft-msl) to 244 ft-msl, and lower the bottom of the landfill from 122 ft-msl to 100 ft-msl. The proposed expansion is estimated to provide 16 million cubic yards of additional landfill capacity. For more information on this site see the Tolson Rubble Landfill page​


The most recent event was on September 10, 2019. This Public Informational Meeting was regarding a refuse disposal permit application for the proposed expansion of the Tolson & Associates Rubble Landfill.

Tolson Rubble Landfill Expansion Application Documents:


Samuel Ogbogu: (410) 537-3315

Maryland Solid Waste and Recycling Facilities Work Group

Passed during the 2017 Legislative Session, House Bill 124 (Chapter 376) directs the Maryland Department of the Environment (the “Department”) to adopt regulations to specify when a “recycling facility” may operate without a refuse disposal permit and to exempt certain materials that are managed at a recycling facility from being designated as “solid waste.”  The law also provides that the regulations may include design and operational conditions for recycling facilities to protect the environment and allows for a tiered system of permits or approvals that are based on the type and amount of materials to be managed at a facility.   In accordance with the statute, the Department must convene and consult with a workgroup of affected stakeholders when developing the regulations.


The meetings of the workgroup have concluded, and the draft regulations are being put into final form for formal proposal later this year. he meetings of the workgroup have concluded, and the draft regulations are being put into final form for formal proposal later this year.

Work Group Documents:


Edward Dexter: (410) 537-3315

Facilities of Interest

Honeygo Rubble Landfill

The Honeygo Rubble Landfill, located north of Md. Rt. 43 and east of I-95 in White Marsh, Baltimore County, is a commercial landfill for the disposal of construction and demolition debris from building construction and demolition. The landfill is permitted to accept lumber, wood, shingles, metal, carpet, concrete, drywall, plaster and plasterboard, appliances, packaging materials, and related materials commonly used in structures and generated during their construction. It consists of a 77.2-acre landfill on a 116.9-acre site. Since September 2018, strong sulfur odors have been noted in the vicinity of the landfill. For more information, see the fact sheet: Honeygo Rubble Landfill Odor Issues.

Allied Chemical Chromium Works/Harbor Point Redevelopment

Harbor Point Development, LLC has constructed a commercial and retail building at the former Allied Chemical chromium plant at 1000 Wills Street in Fells Point, where chromium ore was processed for over 130 years until the plant was demolished in the 1980s. Due to extensive contamination with chromium from the historical industrial activities, the site was subject to a thorough investigation and remediation in accordance with the State and federal hazardous waste regulations. Learn more on the Allied Chemical page. 


Contact us

Solid Waste Program, Land and Materials Administration
Maryland Department of the Environment
1800 Washington Blvd., Ste. 605
Baltimore MD  21230-1719