Management of a landfill center in Birmingham

After describing an inventory of waste management and dumpster rental issues in Alabama and having developed the environmental aspects related to the management of household waste, we approach the technical considerations of the burial of waste.

The objectives are to provide everyone involved in the management of household waste the basic knowledge necessary for the development of a project, the establishment and management of a technical landfill center for household waste. The site selection criteria, the technical aspects related to the development and management of the landfill as well as the financial aspects will be considered.

For mainly economic reasons, landfilling is, and will probably remain for many years to come, the most widely used technique for disposing of household waste in many US states. However, dumping junk to the landfill without any precautions is a practice that is destined to disappear. Increasingly, operators are being asked to offer a number of guarantees to avoid any harmful impact of waste deposits on the environment (human and natural).

The controlled operation of a landfill therefore requires studies and prior arrangements as well as appropriate management procedures. Consequently, the term landfill is disappearing in favor of the term technical landfill center. We will try to define the minimum criteria to be respected when choosing future waste disposal sites so that the landfill has the lowest impact on its environment when it is operated.

We will provide basic knowledge on the development and management of the landfill in order to ensure the protection of the subsoil and the treatment of biogas and leachate. We will deal with the case of arid zones for which different arrangements could be envisaged. Finally, we will address the financial aspects related to the creation and management of the landfill.

Criteria for choosing landfill sites

The choice of the location of a landfill in Alabama cannot be made by chance. Different parameters must be studied in order to ensure that the landfill, once in operation and after closure, will have the lowest possible impact on the environment.

It is often important to consider several potential sites from the outset and to study the characteristics in depth, before selecting the most suitable which will host the CET. At first sight, the search for potential sites must consider a few well-established priorities:
• promote long-term (geological and hydrogeological) stability term of deposits;
• take into account that a biological activity is likely to develop in the landfill. Therefore avoid conditions that could lead to disruption of this activity;
• avoid any interaction between the landfill and the environment, in particular by protecting the hydrographic network and water reserves and by avoiding dispersion harmful gases in the atmosphere;
• take into account the accessibility of the site;
• consider the impact on the human and ecological environment;
• take into account the available and usable volume. Subsequently, potential AL sites must be evaluated according to predefined criteria including dumpster rental availability in order to identify their strengths and weaknesses. For this, it is necessary to distinguish two types of criteria:
• the exclusion criteria which define the minimum conditions of acceptance of an implantation site for a landfill. Some of these conditions couldhowever be met but at the cost of relatively heavy investments; and site planning, dumspter access and isolation;
• the comparison criteria which will make it possible to differentiate the potential sites on the basis of quotations relating to technical considerations more or less favorable.

These criteria, whether exclusion or comparison, are part of different scientific and socio-economic fields such as geology, hydrogeology, hydrology, chemistry and land use planning. They will not constitute not a selection tool, in the most restrictive sense of the term, but rather a way to rank the potential sites according to an order of preference after a minimal study.

Let us cite, for example, standard tests carried out on samples of soil under identical conditions for each potential site; taking into account results of previous studies; the dialogue with the residents on the flora and the sedentary or passing fauna; etc This methodology is in no way a study impact in the strict sense of the term.

Whatever the results obtained with this approach, the sites finally selected in Birmingham and elsewhere in Alabama will necessarily have to be the subject of in-depth investigations, in particular according to their respective weaknesses. In particular, the results obtained obviously cannot replace any legal or contractual obligations in terms of impact assessment, even whether certain elements could serve as a basis for the latter.

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