GRN Recycle Talk FAQ

From: Fred Friedman (FRIEDMAN.FRED@EPA.GOV)
Date: Thu May 13 1999 - 09:42:03 EDT

Date: Thu, 13 May 1999 09:42:03 -0400 (EDT)
From: FRIEDMAN.FRED@EPA.GOV (Fred Friedman)
Subject: Re: What does a landfill site do to the environment? (Colleen H.)

May 13, 1999

Dear Colleen H.,

What does a landfill site do to the environment? Usually, very little, except enable one to store compacted wastes in it.
The two principal interactions apart from this are landfill leachate creation which can speed biodegradation or occasionally, if untreated, unrecirculated, etc., can pollute groundwater. But this is the exceptional case in contemporary landfills. Secondly, the other minor interaction is with landfill gas. Methane gas created underground is a greenhouse gas which contributes very slightly to global climate change gasses being produced. Mostly, landfill gas is flared or used for energy.
But on an entirely different tack, the principal ongoing interaction landfills have with the environment is the pollution created by the trucks dumping their loads in them. If a landfill can take a thousand tons of solid waste per day, and each garbage truck carries 2 tons, that is up to 500 garbage truck trips to the landfill with all of the associated pollution from their exhaust pipes.

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