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Dealing with waste Part I - Landfills.

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Presentation on theme: "Dealing with waste Part I - Landfills."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dealing with waste Part I - Landfills

2 D18 Explain the short- and long-term impacts of landfills and incineration of waste materials on the quality of the environment.

3 There are 3,091 active sanitary landfills in the U. S
There are 3,091 active sanitary landfills in the U.S. and over 10,000 old municipal landfills (rubbish pits).

4 The “Throwaway Age” According to social critic Vance Packard, we are living in the “Throwaway Age,” the name given to an era where every person in an industrialized nation produces about four pounds of waste each day Freudenrich, Craig C., Ph.D. “How Landfills Work.”          

5 Vocabulary Municipal Solid Waste (MSW): trash (or garbage) generated by people and industry. Landfill: a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial. Transfer station: a place where municipal solid waste is collected prior to the waste going to the landfill. Per capita: per person.

6 Vocabulary Leachate: the liquid that seeps from the MSW in a landfill, which may be toxic. Vector: any animal or pest attracted to the garbage in landfills. They may spread disease. Groundwater: the water that is under the ground. This water is commonly used as a drinking water source. It can be contaminated by leachate.

7 Rubbish Pit vs. Sanitary Landfill
Rubbish pits contain no liners. Sanitary landfills include groundwater protection.

8 Anatomy of a Landfill Modern sanitary landfills are carefully engineered structures designed to isolate garbage from nearby water, soil, wildlife, and people.

9 How is a Sanitary Landfill made?
The cavities are dug out of the ground and then the walls are sealed with layers of clay and coated with plastic to prevent groundwater contamination from wastewater that accumulates.

10 Note the overlapping seams!
The Liner Note the overlapping seams!

11 Today's landfills are designed to stay dry inside, except for liquids that ooze from some garbage, and rainwater that trickles through. As water trickles through a landfill, it dissolves chemicals and other particles, creating a liquid called "leachate."

12 There are four critical elements in a secure landfill:
a bottom liner a leachate collection system a gas recovery system and a cover the natural hydrogeologic setting The natural setting can be selected to minimize the possibility of wastes escaping to groundwater beneath a landfill. The three other elements must be engineered. Each of these elements is critical to success.

13 Cross-Section of a Landfill

14 What is done with the Leachate?
The state-of-the-art system, constructed at the bottom of the landfill, has a special double-liner to prevent leachate leakage. The contained leachate is run through pipes to above-ground storage tanks and hauled for treatment and disposal at a large regional wastewater treatment plant.

15 detection meters between the liners which are monitored continuously
Even though there are 2 liners that overlap to keep leachate from leaking out there is always that slim chance. So to help protect the public, landfills are also designed with: detection meters between the liners which are monitored continuously monitoring wells around the site which are sampled quarterly to test the groundwater quality

16 The Capping of a FULL Landfill
Hartford Landfill

17 So...landfill garbage degrades, right?
Not really. Landfills are mostly anaerobic. Without the oxygen and water needed to break down organic materials, all garbage decays very slowly in a landfill. This means our garbage will probably be around for a very long time.

18 40 Yr-old Newspaper found in Landfill

19 Even food does NOT degrade

20 Amount of Trash Thrown in Landfills (by weight)

21 Plastics Plastics can take between years to degrade. Only 3% of it is currently recycled. Yard Waste “Green Waste” (leaves, twigs, Christmas trees) can be shredded and used as mulch or composted. Paper & Cardboard Nationwide, paper & cardboard account for 41 % of all municipal solid waste. Only about 34.5 % is recycled in the U.S.

22 Metal Recycling aluminum reduces both air and water pollution by more than 95% due to less energy needed to mine & process it. Only 38% of cans are recycled. Glass Glass was one of the first to be recycled and continues to lead all others in % recycled. It is the easiest recycled material to use and is the most cost efficient. Food Waste 15.8 million tons of food goes to waste in the U.S. every year. Vegetable & plant matter can be composted (NOT meat or fats) and used for mulch.

23 What short-term problems are caused by landfills?
Trucks used to collect and move trash both locally and at the landfill are noisy. Landfills are unsightly. Landfills and garbage trucks stink!

24 Trucks Moving Trash

25 What long-term problems are caused by landfills?
Several types of problems are caused Water Problems Soil Problems Environmental Problems

26 Water Problems

27 Leachate Problems

28 Issues Concerning Water Flow Through a Landfill
When water (moisture) flows through a landfill, it picks up toxic substances found in waste, creating leachate. Water causes leachate to flow down through the landfill and it may contaminate groundwater.


30 Issues Concerning Water Flow Through a Landfill
Contaminated groundwater can disrupt the ecosystem by poisoning people, plants, and other wildlife.

31 Soil Problems

32 What effects does a landfill have on the soil?
Soil contamination Materials can leach out of the landfill, and taint the soil with chemicals and solid waste Possible increase in Mercury concentrations in the soil. Common sources of mercury in landfills include electrical switches, fluorescent light bulbs

33 Environmental Problems

34 Environmental Problems
Landfills create air pollution (methane, mercury etc) Landfills need space! This leads to habitat destruction Do you want one in your backyard? “NIMBY” Look at some pictures …


36 Delaware

37 Environmental Effects Continued
Landfills require the use of large, heavy machines! These contribute to noise pollution and air pollution The heavy machinery releases CO2 which contributes to the greenhouse effect.

38 What will be Your future?

39 The Example of Love Canal
Love Canal is a 16-acre landfill in the southeast corner of the City of Niagara Falls, New York, about 0.3 mile north of the Niagara River. In the 1890s, a canal was excavated to provide hydroelectric power. Instead, it was later used by Hooker Electrochemical for disposal of over 21,000 tons of various chemical wastes. Dumping ceased in 1952, and in 1953 the disposal area was covered and deeded to the Niagara Falls Board of Education.

40 Love Canal Construction occurred near the site, including an elementary school and numerous homes.  Odors and residues were reported during the 1960s, and increased in the 1970s as the water table rose, bringing contaminated ground water to the surface. Residents suffered a high incidence of cancer and neurological effects.


42 Love Canal Numerous toxic chemicals migrated into surrounding areas. This run-off drains upstream of the intake tunnels for the Niagara Falls' water treatment plant. After years of remediation activities, Love Canal was “de-listed” as a Superfund site in (USEPA)

43 Love Canal Article Read the article “Learning from Love Canal”
Respond to the questions on the worksheet. Be prepared to discuss your responses in class

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