MUNICIPAL SOUD WASTE MANAGEMENT
Olin C. Braids
Blasland, Bouck & Lee
Many areas of the United States currently face serious problems in safely and effectively managing
the trash and garbage they generate. At the same time that we are producing more solid waste than ever
before, we are finding that there are limits to traditional waste management practices. Communities face
hard choices when weighing trash management options. Some pay premium prices to haul waste long
distances (out of state in some cases), others face conflicts over new landfill or waste-to-energy sites.
Characterizing the waste stream components is the first step in determining the value of recycling,
incineration, or ultimate discarding. The amount of waste is significant. If piled in a one square yard area,
the amount generated in one year would reach about 40 percent of the distance to the moon.
The major concem beyond space to store the waste is the effect it has on groundwater supply as
chemicals are released in leachate. The paper discusses some of the chemical indicators of leachate, how
they are generated, and how they can be used to define leachate-contaminated groundwater. Many of the
chemicals in leachate are not "exotic", but are common and inexpensive to analyze for.