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Waste Education

Disposal Opposition – Land filling vs. Incineration

At DSI and LSI we see the benefits of both disposal options- approximately 35% of our waste is being disposed of via incineration, however land filling isn’t like going to the old dump years ago. Today modern Technologies have come to the forefront in developing a environmentally sound disposal option. Today, all modern landfills are required to meet stringent Federal Sub title D standards.

What is Sub title D mean? Generally speaking it means they are lined and built with protections for the community, the environment and are regularly inspected to ensure all protection guidelines are in place and up to date. The have Leachate water collection to collect any residue water that filters through the garbage to protect the ground water and wetlands from being contaminated. This water is collected and sent to a water treatment facility to clean the water.

Even though energy recovery is higher on the Waste hierarchy chart – Modern Land filling can easily be seen on the same level as the landfill we use generates enough electricity to power 3600 homes per day.

The local landfill we use is privately operated and doesn’t rely on any public tax payer money to operate it in fact the local landfills we use contribute upwards to a half a million dollars back to the municipality for host fees to pay for general fund items

Modern Landfill Technology

Landfill Gas Collection and Monitoring

Just as leachate must be collected and processed to keep a landfill functioning properly, so must gases produced by organic decomposition — primarily methane and carbon dioxide — be collected and controlled.
Burnsville Landfill uses the most advanced gas monitoring equipment available to ensure landfill gas emissions do not exceed EPA regulations. In addition, many landfills have been specially designed to collect landfill gas for use as an alternative energy source.

Groundwater Monitoring

To ensure the integrity of the surrounding environment, Burnsville
Landfill installed permanent groundwater monitoring stations.
Groundwater well placement and design standards are in accordance
with the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) and
include the use of numerous components.

Final Covers Give Former Landfills Long-Term Life

Sooner or later, all landfills fill to capacity. But that doesn’t mean
it’s the end of their useful life. By “capping” landfills with synthetic
membranes, clay and topsoil, the landfill can be converted into
beneficial community assets. Many closed landfills become:

  • Parks
  • Natural preserves
  • Wildlife habitat
  • Golf courses
  • Baseball fields
  • Recreational facilities
  • Community common grounds

Continuous, long-term monitoring of groundwater and leachate
conditions protect the environment and ensure the integrity of capped
landfills for decades to come.

State-of-the-Art Liners

Liners form the primary barrier between the landfill’s content and the
surrounding environment. State-of-the-art composite liners made
from both synthetic and natural materials. The exact composition of
these liners depends on the nature of the waste that will occupy the
landfill itself. Most liners include a high density polyethylene (HDPE)
geomembrane over a layer of recompacted clay at least two feet thick.
The HDPE membrane is laid in sheets and heat welded by hand.
Each seam is inspected and tested to prevent leaks. Quality control
managers oversee every step of liner construction.

Modern Leachate Collection and Treatment Systems

Leachate is the term given to liquids that percolate through landfill waste. Modern leachate collection and treatment systems ensure leachate is captured, removed from the landfill and properly treated to prevent contamination of the surrounding environment. Each landfill has a custom-designed leachate control system that takes into account:

  • Environmental protection regulations
  • Leachate composition
  • Local climate
  • Site age
  • Site operations

Leachate may be treated at community wastewater treatment plants, or site engineers may design on-site treatment facilities that use a combination of technologies.

 

Gas-To-Energy Live Green

Landfills are the principal depositories for North America’s solid wastes. Every day, thousands of tons of waste are sent to hundreds of landfills throughout the United States and Canada. But not all that waste goes to waste. In fact, naturally occurring gases are captured and converted into electricity, a renewable energy source that brings light and heat to thousands of nearby homes and businesses.

An Environmentally Friendly Renewable Energy Source 

Landfill gas has proven itself to be a reliable and economical energy source. The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has endorsed landfill-gas-to-energy systems as being environmentally friendly. In addition, landfill gas-to-energy provides many benefits and advantages compared to both traditional fossil fuels and other alternative energy sources. These benefits and advantages include:

  • Reduces dependency on foreign energy sources
  • Energy output is constant and not dependant on sun, wind or other environmental variables
  • Provides a predictable, renewable energy resource during “peak hours”
  • Fuel price is stable
  • Energy availability exceeds 95%, compared to 90% for energy industry as a whole

 

These projects — whether traditional gas-to-energy, medium BTU or high BTU — benefit the environment by using a renewable form of energy to offset non-renewable resources such as coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy.

Landfill gas-to-energy is a vital and important part of North America’s drive to develop alternative energy sources and promote environmental sustainability.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. How long does a landfill produce landfill gas?
A. Landfills produce landfill gas throughout their life. The flow
begins to decrease shortly after the landfill is closed.
Q. What happens to landfill gas that isn’t immediately
converted to electricity?
A. Landfill gas cannot be stored. Therefore, gas that is not used
immediately to produce power must be burned off at the site
using flares.
Q. What kind of companies use electricity from landfill gas?
A. Gas from landfills is being used by many industries,
including major automotive, chemical companies, utilities
and power cooperatives to provide electricity for homes in
the area.