Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Sanitary Landfills

Difficulty: 0

Every day we take out the trash.

In fact, the average household generates about 50 pounds a week.

Then add the trash from offices, businesses, manufacturing and construction sites, you

soon realize we have a lot of trash on our hands.

Studies have shown that more than half of our trash could be recycled, and we hope you

use the curbside recycling or public drop off boxes in your neighborhood.

But where does everything else go?

What happens after the Rumpke truck picks up the garbage?

For most people, the garbage process ends at the curb.

For Rumpke, its only the beginning.

Enter sanitary landfills.

Throughout the Midwest, Rumpke employees strive to protect our health and our environment

through the proper disposal of our non-hazardous trash.

Years ago, one could simply dig a hole, throw some trash in it, cover it with dirt, and

walk away.

Times have certainly changed.

Today, a team of Rumpke environmental engineers and professionals follow strict guidelines

to design, construct, operate and monitor our landfills.

Landfills begin with an appropriate location that meets certain requirements.

For example, a landfill cannot be located within 1,000 feet of natural areas like parks

and preserves.

There are also restrictions near homes, wetlands, airports and aquifers.

After selecting a location, the landfill is divided into phases called cells, which will

be prepared and approved to receive trash.

What often begins as flat ground must be excavated.

Blasting is sometimes required to remove rock and reach excavation goals, especially in

areas with hard beds of shale and limestone.

Safety is a top priority for Rumpke.

Each blast is recorded by seismic monitors placed around the facility.

You may feel a slight rumble outside the blast area, but its probably less than the impact

of a slamming door.

After excavating the cell, we are still quite a ways away from accepting trash.

Next, the series of protective liners are installed to ensure that everything placed

in the landfill, stays in the landfill.

It all begins by placing a 3 foot layer of recompacted clay along the sides and bottom

of the cell.

Rumpke often uses clay from the excavation process for the liner.

The clay acts a natural barrier under the trash.

Next a synthetic liner is placed on top of the clay.

This thick plastic material helps keep liquid from ever reaching the clay liner.

It comes in large rolls, like carpet, and is rolled along the sides and the bottom of

the cell.

Then the pieces are sealed together and pressure tested to make sure air and water are not

able to pass through the seal.

Were almost ready.

Next we must collect and remove any liquid that accumulates in the landfill.

We do so with the leachate collection system.

Leachate is any liquid in contact with garbage.

Its sometimes called garbage juice.

The system consists of a geo-composite layer that is like a sandwich, with two pieces of

geo-synthetic fiber surrounding a high density, polyethylene plastic coil.

The liquid is transmitted by the geo-composite to series of gravel covered pipes and powerful


The pumps draw the leachate into a holding tank before its transferred into the local

sewer district for treatment.

The gravel also serves as a cushion onto of the liners.

It can take anywhere from 3 to 5 years to construct a cell.

We dont want to risk puncturing the liners, so sand or gravel is used a protective layer.

As a cell was constructed, the liners are continuously tested.

Any issues must be corrected before waste placement can begin.

Finally, specially selected loads of trash are sent to the new cell to make whats

called the fluff layer.

The fluff layer is typically waste from households, so its likely to include a lot of food

scraps and paper waste or fluffy stuff that provides additional protection for the liners.

Now the cell is ready for all the trash.

Before the trash is unloaded however, the trucks must be weighed at the landfill scale


Each landfill has a daily or yearly limit established by the states Environmental

Protection Agency.

The Scale House Operator gathers information such as the amount of trash in each vehicle

and the trucks collection region.

Rumpke creates daily logs and reports for various monitoring agencies, municipalities,

and state government.

For each ton of entering landfills, tipping fees, similar to taxes, are paid back to local,

county and state governments.

The truck then travels to the active cell, or the working face, the area where garbage

is being placed that day.

The driver waits in line until a clearing comes available.

Then its time to tip the load.

Heavy equipment weighing up to 120,000 called steel wheel compactors spread and crush the

trash from 1/8 to 1/16 of its original size.

This creates a safe work zone, conserves landfill space, and minimizes odors.

At the end of each day, the working face is covered with dirt and rocks, which reduces

odors and stops wind-blown trash.

It also helps prevent animals and rodents from lingering near the landfill.

Keeping the working face covered is only one way Rumpke works to minimize odors and litter.

Fences surround the landfill, and a dedicated litter crew work together to keep wind blown

litter where it belongs, in the landfill.

At Rumpkes larger sites, a series of permanent and portable misters release an environmentally

friendly odor neutralizing agent designed to reduce trash and other operational odors.

Its comparable to industrial strength fabric and air fresheners.

At all of our landfills, monitoring is key.

Rumpke uses technologically advanced air quality monitors, in addition to ground water monitoring

wells, to continuously ensure optimal air and water quality at and around our sites.

Not only does Rumpke use street sweepers and water wagons to help control dust, but even

our trucks pass through a specially designed wheel wash to remove any trash from tires

and the underside of the vehicle keeping waste where it belongs.

After the garbage is placed in the landfill, something begins to happen to it: decomposition.

In actuality, very little decomposition occurs in the landfill.

But when it does, the process creates usable gas.

To capture the gas, special wells are drilled throughout the site, and they extract the

gas like a vacuum sweeper.

At some landfills, the landfill gas is conveyed to a methane gas recovery facility where the

gas is converted to reusable energy such as natural gas, or electric.

The landfill gas to energy facilities at Rumpkes landfills, provide enough energy nearly 30,000

homes and business, making them some of the largest landfill gas to energy facilities

in the world.

Special conditions are required for landfills to make beneficial uses of its gas.

Until those conditions are met, some sites simply burn the gas with a flare.

The burn rate is measured to ensure environmental compliance.

Regardless, the gas wells are monitored to ensure theyre working properly.

After filling a cell to capacity, a special capping system must be installed.

The final cap consists of liners similar to those at the base, with layers of clay, plastic

and drainage components.

Next, soil is spread and grass is planted.

Rumpke will then monitor the site for at least 30 years after it closes.

Inspections will be done on the gas and leachate collection systems, and a general upkeep of

the site will continue.

After 30 years, the landfill can be reused for a variety of activities, such as a walking

trail, park or golf course.

Whether at school, home, or work, we all produce trash and we need a place to put it.

Rumpkes sanitary landfills are engineered structures designed to protect our health

and environment.

Were proud of our facilities and invite groups to participate in tours, and educational


Since 1932, Rumpke has been keeping neighborhoods clean and green.

Our humble beginnings as hog farmers during the Great Depression have grown to one of

the largest privately owned waste companies in the world.

With nearly 50 family members and more than 2,000 employees, were dedicated to taking

care of our trash and recycling, one can at a time.

So the next time you take your trash can to the curb, know that with Rumpke your trash

is handled by a team of professionals, working hard every day to protect your health and

your environment.

The Description of Sanitary Landfills