Special Landfills

The distinction between the modern sanitary landfill and hazardous waste landfill is blurred, except the latter usually has two or three liner systems and multiple leachate collection systems (O'Leary and Walsh 1992a). Landfills similar to the sanitary landfill are sometimes built to handle special waste. Special waste is high-volume waste that is not hazardous and can be easily handled separate from the municipal waste stream.

Separate disposal is advantageous if a dedicated disposal facility is required, the waste is perceived to have special associated risks, or the waste carries a lower risk than MSW. An example of a waste with special risks is infectious waste which, though relatively innocuous in the ground, must be handled with special care so that disposal facility workers are not infected. In this case, a dedicated facility may be required for worker safety. An example of a low-risk waste is construction and demolition waste. In this case, using a disposal facility with lower performance standards can reduce disposal cost. Thus, a special landfill is dedicated to one or a few classes of special waste material. Examples of special material include coal-fired electric power plant ash, MSW incinerator ash, construction and demolition debris, infectious waste, asbestos, or any nonhazardous industrial waste subject to subtitle D regulations.

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