SANITARY LANDFILLS

 

Begin with a pit in the ground, preferably located in a clay basin.

Install a double composite liner and a leachate collection and recirculation system.

        1.   Line the pit with composite plastic, to keep the leachate out of the surrounding water table.

        2.   Construct a network of perforated drainage pipes for pumping leachate from the bottom of the landfill.

Construct a network of perforated venting pipes for pumping air into the bottom of the landfill.

Cover the pipe with a layer of gravel and/or shredded tires.

Introduce the solid waste.

Cover the solid waste with compacted soil.  Frequency will depend upon the number of birds attracted to the landfill and/or the amount of odor being emitted.

Initially, proper amounts of water are pumped onto the top of the landfill.  On active sites, external berms drain off the rain before it reaches the working face.

Continuously pump excess leachate from the bottom of the landfill, where it is stored in 400,000 gallon holding tanks rather than lagoons, which would become infiltrated with rain water.  The leachate is returned to the waste by pumping it through recharge wells and recirculated throughout the landfill over an area as wide and deep as possible.

Regularly pump air into the bottom of the landfill.

This combination of water from the top and air from the bottom creates an environment where microbes proliferate.  The more microbes, the faster they devour the garbage.  When the garbage is gone, the microbes die off.

With a recovery system, the methane gas produced from decomposition can be used as an energy source.  Leachate recirculation creates a steadier and greater quantity of methane gas.

Another advantage to recirculation is the lessened toxicity of the leachate.  In 40 years when it leaks through the liner, the chance of pollution will be much less.  When leachate is strongest, the pH is about 5.5 which supports metals in solution.  After leachate recycles through the landfill, the pH rises to 7.0 and the heavy metals go out of solution to stay in the refuse mass where at a later date they can be mined in a process called landfill reclamation.

Encourage recycling by citizens.  Resource recovery is the modern alchemist’s quest to mine from garbage something of value (aluminum, iron, steel, glass, cardboard, paper, rubber) and at the same time reduce landfill needs.

“BY RECIRCULATING LEACHATES – THE LIQUID BREW OF DECOMPOSING WASTES – IN A LANDFILL, BIOLOGICAL BREAKDOWN OCCURS UP TO 10 TIME FASTER THAN USUAL.  NORMALLY, A LANDFILL TAKES 20 to 30 YEARS TO DECOMPOSE, BUT USING THIS METHOD, IT MAY TAKE ONLY 2 to 3 YEARS.”  Science News,  September 3, 1994

“TURNED ON BY TRASH: ACROSS THE COUNTRY, CITIES AND COUNTIES ARE BENEFITING FROM METHANE‑TO‑ENERGY PROJECTS.”

American City & County,  January 2002

SANITARY LANDFILLS

by Robert A Kroboth     WWW.CitizenGadfly.Com

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