Liquid Waste Restricted from Landfills
This guidance document is advisory in nature but is binding on an agency until amended by such agency. A guidance document does not include internal procedural documents that only affect the internal operations of the agency and does not impose additional requirements or penalties on regulated parties or include confidential information or rules and regulations made in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. If you believe that this guidance document imposes additional requirements or penalties on regulated parties, you may request a review of the document.

Form #: 06-236 Guidance Documents Revised: 1/13/23

Liquid Waste Restricted from Landfills

This guidance is intended to outline the restrictions of liquid waste in landfills through a few questions and answers.

Q. What is a liquid waste?

A. Liquid waste is any waste that contains free liquids, which will readily separate from the solid waste under ambient temperature and pressure. This is shown through application of the Paint Filter Test (method 9095), in which a representative sample of the waste is placed in a cone filter. The sample is timed and if any free liquid drips out of the filter over that time the sample fails the test and is considered to be a liquid waste.

Q. What are the restrictions for disposing of liquid wastes at a landfill?

A. Bulk or non-containerized liquids cannot be disposed in a solid waste landfill. This means any waste or special waste that contains free liquids is banned from permitted landfills unless:
  • The waste is household waste (not septic waste); or
  • The waste is leachate or gas condensate derived from the solid waste disposal area, and the solid waste disposal area is designed with a composite liner and leachate collection system.

Q. How can liquid waste be managed for disposal?

A. Liquid waste may be disposed in a municipal solid waste landfill by the following methods:
  • The liquid waste is in a small container (similar in size to that normally found in a household);
  • The liquid waste is in a container designed to hold liquids for use or personal consumption rather than bulk storage; or
  • The liquid waste is a household waste (not septic waste).

Liquids or wet wastes that fail the Paint Filter Test may be mixed with soil or other dry wastes prior to disposal at the solid waste landfill. This process of bulk waste or “bulking” absorbs enough liquid to allow the whole to pass a paint filter test. Some landfills permitted in Nebraska are allowed to bulk on site, most are not. Please call ahead to your landfill to discuss options. Waste that has been bulked is weighed after bulking to assess tipping fees.

See also, Guidance Document “Disposal of Bulk-Quantities of Liquids in Household-Sized Containers” on the NDEE Home Page.

Note: Any liquid, containerized, or bulk waste, that is also a special waste, must be pre-approved by the Department of Environment and Energy before disposal. The solid waste landfill manager may set regulations addressing liquid wastes that are more stringent than State or Federal regulations.


  • NDEE Main Line (402) 471-2186
  • NDEE Toll Free Number (877) 253-2603
  • NDEE Waste Compliance Assistant (402) 471-8308
  • Email questions to:

NDEE Publications:

Produced by: Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy, P.O. Box 98922, Lincoln, NE 68509-8922; phone (402) 471-2186. To view this, and other information related to our agency, visit our web site at