Siting New Landfills

Proper siting of sanitary landfills is crucial to providing economic disposal while protecting human health and the environment. The siting process consists of the following tasks (Walsh and O'Leary 1991a):

Establishing goals and gathering political support Identifying facility design basis and need Identifying potential sites within the region Selecting and evaluating in detail superior sites Selecting the best site Obtaining regulatory approval

Goals include delineating the region to be served, facility lifetime, target tipping fees, maximum hauling distance, potential users, and landfill services. Political support is crucial to successful siting. Because opposition to a new landfill is almost always present, strong political support for a new landfill must exist from the start of the siting process. A solid waste advisory council—made up of interested independent citizens and representatives of interested groups—should be formed early in the process, if one does not already exist.

The design basis and needs of a landfill depend on the applicable regulations and the required landfill area (which in turn depend on the amount of waste to be handled and the required lifetime). The amount of waste to be handled depends on the present and future population served by the landfill, the projected per capita waste generation rate, and the projected recycling, composting, and reduction rates.

Developing a new landfill involves finding the most suitable available location. The main criteria involved in siting a new landfill are:

site size—The site should have the capacity to handle the service area's MSW for a reasonable period of time. site access—All-weather access roads with sufficient capacity to handle the number and weight of waste transport vehicles must be available. haul distance—This distance should be the minimum distance that does not conflict with social impact criteria.

location restrictions—These restrictions are summarized in Table 10.13.1. Additional or stricter constraints can also be imposed. physical practicality—Sites with, for example, surface water or steep slopes should be avoided. liner and cover soil availability—This soil should be available onsite; Offsite sources increase construction and operating costs. social impact—Siting landfills far from residences and avoiding significant traffic impacts minimizes this impact.

environmental impact—The effect on environmentally sensitive resources, such as groundwater, surface water, wetlands, and endangered or threatened species should be minimized. Siting landfills on impermeable soils with a deep water table avoids groundwater impacts.

land use—The land around the potential site should be compatible with a landfill.

land price and ease of purchase—A potential site is easier to purchase if it is owned by one or a few parties.

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