The Rio Rancho Landfill is an existing solid waste facility that commenced operations in 1985. Waste Management of New Mexico purchased the site in 1988. In 1990, Waste Management successfully applied for a solid waste permit that specified environmental safeguards including a clay liner, leachate collections systems, groundwater monitoring wells, and a gas monitoring system.
The Rio Rancho Landfill is permitted as a solid waste facility with the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED). The latest permit was issued in 2008 via Permit Number 231402. The facility design and operations have been conducted in accordance with the applicable NMED Solid Waste Management Regulations since that time. All disposal units meet the composite liner and leachate collection standards of the current NMED regulations (20 NMAC 9.1). Waste Management has routinely involved NMED's Solid Waste Bureau in the facility's design, construction, operations, and monitoring.
Waste Management anticipates closure of the site upon reaching permitted capacity. The actual year of closure will be determined by the remaining air space in the landfill and the amount of solid waste coming into the facility. The current permit includes a vertical expansion, which will maximize the capacity of the site to meet the disposal needs of the region. The permit modification also included an improved storm water management system, further enhancing environmental protection.
Future Use of the Rio Rancho Landfill Site
In recent years, rapid development has brought the community closer to the landfill. Waste Management believes this increases the importance of working with the community to share ideas for future use of the area. Waste Management intends to incorporate community preferences for future use of the site into its recommendations to the City of Rio Rancho.
The Rio Rancho Landfill has been designed and operated to protect the environment for the future. At closure, the site will be covered with a protective cap and developed as a community resource.
Upon closure, the City of Rio Rancho has the option to assume ownership of the site or request that Waste Management retain ownership. Either way, as part of the permit Waste Management will continue to monitor and manage the site for thirty years after closure.