Bioreactor Landfills

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The Next Generation of Landfill Design & Operation

What is a bioreactor landfill? Simply put, it is a waste treatment landfill with technology that accelerates the decomposition of organic wastes in a landfill. This is accomplished by controlling the addition and removal of moisture from the waste mass, the collection and extraction of landfill gas, and in some instances the addition of air. For more information on bioreactors visit the United States EPA Office of Solid Waste, Bioreactor website.

Waste Management currently operates ten full-scale waste treatment landfill projects in the U.S. and Canada. We are evaluating the economic and environmental impacts as well as developing the operational knowledge needed for safe and effective implementation. Among our current projects are:

  • Outer Loop, Louisville, Kentucky
    This innovative project is part of long term cooperative research and development study performed in conjunction with the USEPA to evaluate bioreactor technologies. The project was honored with the Environmental Excellence Award for Industrial Environmental Leadership in 2003 by the Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet and won the 2005 Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) Landfill Excellence award.
  • Virginia landfills, USEPA Project XL
    The Maplewood and King George County Landfills in Virginia have participated in USEPA’s Project XL program to demonstrate the benefits of liquid addition on solid waste landfilling. More information on these projects is available from the Project XL web site .
  • Spruce Ridge, Glencoe, Minnesota
    The project is the first of its kind in Minnesota building upon the long-term success of liquids addition/waste treatment practices at this facility. The waste treatment landfill is part of a research and development agreement with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to further define the environmental benefits of this new technology. This project was initiated in 2007 concurrent with the construction of a new gas to energy facility.
  • L&D Landfill, Mount Holly, New Jersey
    An innovative approach involving the injection of air and leachate into a section of the closed L&D landfill is being applied to treat contaminants present in the waste. This is this first application of bioreactor technology to address problems at a superfund site.

Collectively, these projects are providing us with valuable information on waste treatment landfills at an operational scale. We are developing new and more effective means of distributing liquids, extracting landfill gas and tracking the progress of waste degradation. As well as developing the practices and procedures for the acceptance and addition of liquid wastes and safety of our employees.

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