What Is a Landfill?
A landfill is a facility used for the disposal of solid waste, which can be hazardous or nonhazardous. Beyond complying with all relevant regulations, landfills are also designed to “protect the environment from contaminants,” and cannot be built in places where the environment may be at risk from their presence.
Before companies begin thinking about using a landfill to dispose of their solid wastes, they are encouraged by the EPA to find ways of reducing waste generation at the beginning of the process and to explore options for reducing toxicity. When recycling the waste is no longer an option, then landfills should be considered.
How do they work?
Landfills are subject to rigorous environmental regulation (through the RCRA) and come equipped with environmental monitoring systems that check for potential contamination issues. Before they are sealed, landfills are packed with layers of waste that are surrounded by rubber and clay barriers. After that, they are sealed under a plastic barrier that keeps liquids from seeping out of the landfill and into the ground.
The purpose of a landfill is to store waste, not to break it down. However, wastes do decompose in landfills at a very slow pace and without oxygen. Because no oxygen is present, the bacteria breaking down the waste produce methane gas, which is flammable and dangerous underground. This gas is then collected by pipes installed above the solid waste and is released into the air without any refinements or is used for energy.
Commercially Relevant Types of Landfills
Industrial Waste Landfills
These kinds of landfills collect industrial waste that is not hazardous.
- Construction and Demolition Debris (C&D) Landfills: This is for “debris generated during the construction, renovation and demolition of buildings, roads and bridges.” These types of landfills contain bulkier items.
- Coal Combustion Residual Landfills: Landfills for coal ash.
Hazardous Waste Landfills
These landfills are used only for hazardous waste.
- Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) Landfills: PCBs are man-made chemicals with carbon, hydrogen, and chlorine atoms. They are regulated by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
- Hazardous Waste Landfills: Landfills for hazardous waste that is not PCB waste.
As landfills deal with solid waste that may sometimes be hazardous waste, they are regulated under RCRA Subtitles D (solid wastes) and C (hazardous wastes) and TSCA. To learn more about managing industrial nonhazardous solid waste, see Subtitle D; for hazardous waste, see Subtitle C. All kinds of landfills are also subject to the Clean Air Act.
Clean Management and Landfilling
Clean Management offers cost effective waste disposal for your hazardous and nonhazardous waste. Our extensive network of landfills nationwide allows us to offer these kinds of landfill applications:
- Direct landfill
- Macroencapsulation and microencapsulation
- Landfill leachate removal
For more information on landfilling, reach out to Clean Management today.