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Anson Landfill
Responsible Waste Diversion and Disposal

Landfill 101

Landfills in the United States are engineered structures that protect groundwater, surface water, and the air. Since the mid-1970’s, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed the technical requirements for landfills. The EPA’s framework of regulations is furthered by rules codified at state and municipality levels. Anson Landfill currently meets and exceeds the baseline regulations and rules established by government agencies and provides a safe outlet for waste that would otherwise pollute the areas surrounding our landfill. The key components of a landfill include:

  • A composite liner system. This structure segregates leachate from the surrounding environment, particularly from groundwater and usually includes a 60-mil thick HDPE liner installed on 24 inches of compacted clay.
  • The leachate collection system. The surface of the composite liner system is contoured to direct liquids to collection pipes, sumps, and pumps. This liquid, also known as leachate, is removed from the landfill and directed to tanks or basins prior to treatment at an offsite facility.
  • A landfill gas collection and control system (GCCS). The GCCS extracts gas generated by decomposing waste in the landfill through gas wells. Gas wells are usually interconnected with piping that culminates in blowers that provide suction to the wellfield. Landfill gas can be destroyed in a flare or utilized for electricity generation.

Simplified Landfill Lifecycle:

Glossary of Landfill Terms:

Active/Working Face: Area of a landfill where waste is being added. This space should be as small as possible while allowing compactors and dozers to operate safety.

Cell: A landfill cell is a small disposal area within a larger area permitted for waste disposal. Landfills develop cells instead of the entire permitted area to ensure environmental protection by managing a smaller space.

Clay Liner: Bottom-most layer of a landfill. Clay liners are typically 24 inches thick and have a low permeability (1x10-7 cm-sec) to ensure that liquids and gases cannot exit the landfill if the geomembrane fails.

Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA): Law enacted in 1980 that provides for cleanup and remediation of uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites and response to accidents, spills, and other emergency releases of hazardous substances. CERCLA provides the US EPA with enforcement authority to ensure that responsible parties pay the cleanup costs. CERCLA provides a definition of non-hazardous waste that Anson Landfill utilizes when evaluating special waste.

Daily and Intermediate Cover: Soil cover applied to a landfill’s working face to cover exposed waste. Daily cover is applied at the end of each operating day while intermediate cover is applied on areas to which waste will not be added for more than 30 days.

Earthwork: Land-moving operations such as excavating, filling, compacting, and blasting. Earthwork operations are performed at Anson Landfill during cell construction projects.

Environmental Monitoring: To verify that landfills are not impacting the environment, monitoring is performed. Typical monitoring performed at landfills includes sampling groundwater wells, gas probes, the leachate basin, and storm water leaving the site, among other activities. Audits performed by site personnel and regulatory agencies also verify that environmentally conscious practices are employed.

Final Cap: Final cover or cap is comprised of layers of impermeable materials (e.g., compacted clay), drainage materials (e.g., sand), topsoil, and vegetation. Final cover is applied to the top of a closed cell to minimize rainwater infiltration and the production of leachate.

Freon: Freon is a non-combustible gas used in refrigerators, air conditioners, and other equipment. Freon and other refrigerants must be managed as hazardous waste and cannot be disposed of at Anson Landfill.

Friable Asbestos:​ Any asbestos containing material that can be crushed, crumbled, pulverized, or turned to powder with the ordinary force of the human hand. Friable asbestos can be disposed of at Anson Landfill. Visit the Special Waste tab for more information.

Fugitive Methane Emissions:​ Gas emissions to the atmosphere or groundwater. The purpose of Anson Landfill’s GCCS is to reduce these emissions as much as possible.

Gas Collection and Control System (GCCS): A landfill GCCS is typically comprised of the collection system (gas wells and piping), the control system (blowers and flares or an energy plant), the air system (air compressors and air lines), and the condensate system (sumps, pumps, and piping) to manage leachate pulled into the system. The GCCS addresses odors, targets fugitive methane emissions, meets regulatory requirements for NSPS sites, and can be used for power or destruction of greenhouse gases.

Geomembrane Liner: Geosynthetic liner installed on top of the clay liner. The materials used for this layer of the landfill trap liquids and landfill gas inside the landfill so they can be removed by the leachate system and GCCS.

Groundwater: Water located in underground spaces and cracks in soil, sand, and rock. Geologic characteristics of potential landfill sites are thoroughly analyzed prior to permit approval and long before waste acceptance to identify depths and locations of groundwater. Groundwater at Anson Landfill is monitored periodically to ensure that the composite liner is containing leachate by sampling groundwater wells located up and downstream of the landfill.

Landfill Gas (LFG): Gas produced when organic waste naturally decomposes in a landfill. The gas is approximately 55% methane and 45% carbon dioxide by volume. Other gases found in LFG include hydrogen and water vapor. At Anson Landfill, LFG is collected and destroyed with the GCCS flare.

Landfill Gas Extraction Well: They provide a conduit through which landfill gas is extracted from a landfill to reduce a landfill’s environmental impact. Gas wells are installed as waste is added to a landfill.

Landfill Gas Well Dewatering: The vacuum pressure applied to gas wells can cause leachate to infiltrate the well. This liquid is periodically removed from the gas well to maximize collection of landfill gas.

Leachate: Liquid that has percolated through or drained from waste. Leachate flows to the lowest contour of the landfill where the pipes and pumps of the leachate collection system remove the liquid.

Leachate Aeration: Leachate is typically collected in tanks or basins outside the landfill. Aerators can be installed in these structures to encourage biological components to digest contaminants prior to discharge to a water treatment facility.

Liner: Layer of natural or synthetic material laid beneath and on the sides of a sanitary landfill that restricts the downward or lateral escape of leachate and landfill gas. Anson Landfill is constructed with a composite liner – a combination of clay and synthetic liners.

Lithium-Ion Batteries: Rechargeable batteries that can be found in common household fixtures (e.g., drills). These batteries pose significant fire hazards to landfills and must be recycled at special facilities. Lithium-ion batteries are not accepted at Anson Landfill.

New Source Performance Standards (NSPS):​ The EPA regulations that target pollution reduction from stationary sources. 40 CFR 60 Subpart Section WWW applies to municipal solid waste landfills, and therefore Anson Landfill. Visit the EPA website​ for additional information on NSPS requirements.

Non-friable Asbestos: An asbestos containing material with more than 1% asbestos that cannot be pulverized with hand pressure. Non-friable asbestos can be disposed of at Anson Landfill. Visit the Special Waste tab for more information.

Permit: Landfill permits ensure that waste facilities comply with EPA and state regulations. Permits are reviewed and approved by state agencies and outline how landfills will meet all applicable regulations.

Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW): A wastewater treatment plant owned and operated by a government agency.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA):​ The federal legislation adopted in 1976 that governs the management of solid and hazardous wastes in the United States. RCRA compliance is required by law and is ensured at Anson Landfill through the state-approved permit to operate.

Surface Emission Monitoring (SEM): A technique to identify and measure fugitive methane emissions from a landfill by traversing the site with a portable methane meter held near the landfill’s surface. SEM is performed at Anson Landfill twice a year.

Subtitle D: The provision of RCRA that applies to non-hazardous solid waste facilities like Anson Landfill. The rules in this document describe the minimum technical standards for design and operation of solid waste facilities.

Surface Water: Any body of water above ground, including streams, creeks, rivers, and wetlands. Landfills are required to protect surface water in addition to groundwater. Anson Landfill employs several structures (e.g., sedimentation ponds) to ensure surface water impacts are minimized.

Vegetative Cover: Vegetative cover at landfills helps prevent erosion, minimizes water infiltration into the landfill, and helps prevent sediment from entering storm water. Vegetation is the top layer in a final cap and can also be applied to intermediate cover.

Wellfield: The system of landfill gas extraction wells. Landfill wellfields are expanded as waste is added. Anson’s wellfield is designed to a 200-ft grid to extract as much landfill gas as possible.

White Goods: Discarded household appliances like stoves, refrigerators, and washing machines. Note that many refrigerants (e.g., Freon) are hazardous materials that must be drained from appliances prior to disposal at Anson Landfill.

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