Monday, February 15, 2016

Have you ever played on a golf course or had a soccer game on an old landfill? Chances are you have! Places that were previously landfills have potential to become recreational sites and parks. But this doesn’t happen over night. Try over 30 years. Here are some of the complications of closing a landfill.
A landfill will typically close because it has reached its capacity of waste. Because of the policy Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the owner of the landfill must continue to monitor groundwater, leachate and methane collection and disposal for 30 years after it was closed. This is called the post closure period. But beyond this period often comes with major complications. Many owners want to take short cuts to maximize their profits. This means that after the 30 years, they don’t feel any responsibility to the long-term effects of the landfill.
1. Landfill wastes can be a threat forever. All of the heavy metals, salts and some organic products that we throw away will not decompose.
2. Landfill liners can tear. These liners are meant to collect leachate to prevent pollution of nearby groundwater. Unfortunately they cannot function forever and after 30 years it is unclear as to who is responsible for fixing it.
3. Landfills continue to emit gas. In the post closure period there must be more control of gas generation. It can cause contamination of ground water, explosions and health threats.
4. The post closure period involves receiving funding from the landfill owner. What if they can no longer fund to monitor this site? No money, more problems.
5. Where does all the garbage go? It doesn’t go anywhere. Incineration is one option to removing waste. Burning of trash causes the release of toxins like lead and mercury. Now all of the trash is now redistributed into the air instead of landfills.

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