Municipal Solid Waste Landfills

Yearly, significant amounts of municipal solid waste (MSW) get recycled and composted. For the record, most Municipal Solid Waste generated in the United States end up in landfills.

Also, the modern MSW landfills represent well-engineered installations and facilities regulated under strict state and federal regulations to guarantee the protection and safety of the environment and human health. Note that such landfills are located, designed, operated, monitored, closed, then cared for following its closure to guarantee environmental safety. 

Also, modern MSW landfills collect and treat leachate and gas. Companies can then convert recovered landfill gas into energy (steam, vehicle fuel, heat, electricity) to limit America’s dependence and reliance on petroleum products. In turn, to guarantee a greener society.

Typical Municipal Solid Waste Landfill Components

Liner System  

Liner systems can include clay, geotextiles, and plastics on the bottom and sides of the landfill to stop liquids from escaping the landfill then affecting groundwater resources. In the cross-section, the liner system comprises of a compact liner overlain by a synthetic liner.

Leachate Collection System   

Leachate collection system (LCS) is placed on top of the liner to remove and collect water (liquids or rainwater present in the garbage) draining through the waste. The water passing through the garbage is sometimes referred to as leachate. Leachate garnered in the Leachate Collection System gets treated off- or on-site.

Cap Systems

A final cap having a similar hydraulic conductivity like the liner system gets placed above the landfill when it reaches its final height. On top of the hydraulic barrier, a vegetative layer gets installed to grow vegetation. The cap system prevents precipitation from infiltrating into landfill after closure.

Gas Collection System   

A gas collection system is installed in the landfill using perforated vertical (wells) and horizontal pipes to prevent methane and other trace organic gases from escaping. The gas is extracted under a vacuum and pumped to destruction devise such as a flare or energy utilization facility.

Surface Water Control System       

A network of stormwater drainage channels is installed on and around the landfill to collect precipitation and collect it to a rainwater retention pond. The stormwater collection system controls erosion on the cap and adjacent areas to prevent surface water contamination.

Monitoring System

A comprehensive environmental monitoring system is installed around the landfill to ensure that the liner and gas collection systems are operating correctly, and human health and the environment are protected.

Federal MSW Landfill Regulations

The federal requirements contain location restrictions, liner requirements, groundwater-monitoring requirements, operating practices, closure, post-closure management requirements, financial assurance, and corrective action requirements for every active and existing MSW landfills.

National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP)

Municipal Solid Waste Landfills – The NESHAP standards contain federal requirements for controlling the gas emissions from more massive MSW landfills as defined in the regulations.

One common misconception about landfills is that they harm property values. While landfills’ impact on adjacent property values cannot be easily generalized, academic research indicates that residential property values are not necessarily adversely affected by proximity to disposal facilities.