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Landfills: Permanent Solution or Risky Business? By Lauren Brodie The purpose of this project was to gain a better understanding of landfills and their.

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Presentation on theme: "Landfills: Permanent Solution or Risky Business? By Lauren Brodie The purpose of this project was to gain a better understanding of landfills and their."— Presentation transcript:

1 Landfills: Permanent Solution or Risky Business? By Lauren Brodie The purpose of this project was to gain a better understanding of landfills and their long-term effects on the environment. Since their origin, landfills have been designed to be a permanent solution to waste disposal. However, when examining landfill use, it becomes evident that they are risky business. This research is a synthesis of information about landfills over time. The timeline highlights examples of past failures, current incidences, and potential future fallout of landfills in the U.S. This information can be used to better educate people regarding the harmful environmental impacts of waste in an effort to reduce individuals’ waste habits and to improve governmental regulations. Future: Researchers suggest further investigation into the effects that severe drought and increased storm frequencies will have on the structure of landfills. Future: Climate change continues to put coastal zones at high risk for landfill disruption due to erosion and shoreline flooding. As a result, some landfills may need to be relocated to limit future problems. 16 Pre Landfill: After WW2, there was an abundance of waste. To dispose of this, waste of any sort would be dumped into the natural environment in places like lakes or rivers : The first official landfill, The Fresno Sanitary Landfill (CA), opened. Holes were dug deep into the ground for waste to be dumped. The waste was alternated with compacted soil. Once full, the holes were covered with dirt. This marked the start of America’s waste epidemic : Hooker Chemicals began dumping chemicals and municipal waste into the Love Canal (NY), which was originally intended to provide power to nearby towns, but was never finished. It eventually became an unofficial landfill : The Love Canal Landfill was covered. Despite skeptics, the property adjacent to the canal was used to build a community. Signs of contamination quickly became evident to the residents, and over the next several years families started noticing several unusual changes in their health and well being : NYSODH conducts a study on the Love Canal highlighting the resulting health problems. Death by heart disease, cancer, heart attack, and suicide all increased. Similar studies showed a likelihood of low or very low birth weight and an abnormal ratio of female to male births : The EPA claims that all landfills will eventually leak : Fresno Sanitary Landfill closes. Over its 50 years in operation, it expanded from 20 to140 acres! : A complaint was filed against Gary Development Landfill (IN) – This landfill was designed to accept non- hazardous waste only. Despite regulation policies, hazardous waste was accepted and dumped into the landfill. This incident is one of many flaws in landfill management. 5 Early 1980s: Landfills become modernized using plastics such as HDPE and other new techniques : High density polyethylene (HDPE), the highest quality of landfill liners, is examined. Researchers concluded that even when installed correctly, HDPE can be expected to leak at the rate of about 20 gallons per acre per day. 7,8 2001: Science News states that the mixing of hazardous substances in landfills causes the original substances to become even more unfavorable to human health : Statistics showed that 82% of landfills surveyed had cell leaks, 41% of which were larger than 1 square foot. 11 Present day: Berkeley Landfill continues to search for an answer to their problem of burrowing squirrels. Experts say that water qualities are threatened, and a solution must be found : Rumpke Landfill (OH) reports elevated temperatures and other signs of leakage. A year later a plan was put into action to limit the impact. However, technology can only minimize the consequences, not eliminate them : A landslide occurs at the Chrin Landfill in Northampton County, PA, damaging drainage pipes and exposing methane wells. 13 Present Day: Residents of North St Louis, MO continue to deal with the appalling smell and elevated temperatures radiating from the nearby Bridgeton Landfill. In early 2013, a massive chemical reaction occurred within the landfill causing an underground fire. This notorious fire continues to put residents in danger. 15 Future: Current studies are considering the role that climate change will play on landfills : Federal regulations for landfill post closure requirements are amended stating that care must be conducted for 30 years after closure. 9 Introduction References Acknowledgements This research was supported by the Post Landfill Action Network under the guidance of Alex Freid. Additional support was provided by Michael Palace and Robert Eckert. Thank you to Paul Gildersleeve, NH Department of Environmental Services, for research assistance. 1. Roberts, Jon. “GARBAGE: The Black Sheep of the Family.” Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality Web. 24 Feb Melosi, Martin V. “National Register of Historic Places: Fresno Sanitary Landfill.” National Historic Landmarks Nomination Web. 16 Mar New York State Department of Health. “Love Canal Follow-up Health Study.” United States Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Web. 21 Mar Environmental Research Foundation. “EPA Says All Landfills Leak, Even Those Using Best Available Liners.” Rep. no. 37. Annapolis: Rachel’s Hazardous Waste News, Print. 5. Machak, L. “Former Gary landfill may get Superfund status.” Lake County News [Munster, IN] 08 Mar Print. 6. Environmental Research Foundation. “The Best Landfill Liner: HDPE.” Rep. no Annapolis: Rachel’s Hazardous Waste News, Print. 7. “Existing Tank Repairs.” Digital image. Concrete Tank Repairs. n.p., Web. 15 Apr Environmental Research Foundation. “New Evidence That All Landfills Will Leak.” Rep. no Annapolis: Rachel's Hazardous Waste News, Print. 9. Protection of Environment, 26 Environmental Protection Agency § (2012). Print. 10. "Harmful Health Effects." The Alliance For A Clean Environment. n.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr "Waste and Recycling Facts." Clean Air Council. Clean Air Council, n.d. Web. 4 Apr Nally, Scott, ed. “Rumpke Sanitary Landfill - Hamilton County.” Issue brief. Columbus: Ohio EPA, Print. 13. Shank, Katie. "Neighbors Concerned about Chrin Landfill's Recent Landslide." Lehigh Valley News. 69 News WFMZ. Lehigh Valley, PA, 14 Mar Television. 14. San Francisco Bay Water Quality Board. “Rodent Population Impacts at Berkeley Landfill, Alameda County.” Issue brief. N.p.: California Water Boards, Print. 15. Hseih, Steven. "St. Louis Is Burning." Rolling Stone. n.p., 10 May Web. 27 Mar Kebede, Abiy S. “Assessing potential risks of impacts of climate change on coastal landfills.” Erasmus Mundus Programme Web


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