Title: Municipal Solid Waste Management
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00001311/00001
 Material Information
Title: Municipal Solid Waste Management
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
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Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Notes
Abstract: Municipal Solid Waste Management, by Olin C. Braids
General Note: Box 8, Folder 3 ( Vail Conference, 1993 - 1993 ), Item 25
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: WL00001311
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
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MUNICIPAL SOLD WASTE MANAGEMENT


Olin e. Braids
Blasland, Bouck & Lee


INTRODUCTION


Municipal solid waste generation continues to increase as capacity to handle it decreases. Many
landfills and incinerating facilities have been closed in the absence of commensurate numbers or capacities
of newly opened facilities. New disposal facilities are virtually impossible to site because of the prevailing
attitudes associated with the NIMBY (not in my baclyard) syndrome.

These siting problems result in hard choices for communities when weighing waste management
options. Some communities are forced to pay premium prices to transport their garbage long distances
to available facilities. One example is the Town of Oyster Bay on Long Island, New York. The town spans
the north-south breadth of Long Island and is on the eastern side of Nassau County, about 45 miles from
Manhattan. All of the solid waste from the communities within the town is compacted and trucked to
Illinois! It's fortunate that the Town of Oyster Bay is comprised of predominantly affluent communities. Not
all communities face as intractable problems with waste as this. Many have found creative solutions
through source reduction, recycling programs, and working with the public to site newly engineered disposal
facilities. The magnitude of increasing waste production on a national scale presents us all with problems
that require focused attention.

Identifying components of the waste stream is an important step toward addressing the problems
f", associated with generation and management of municipal wastes. Analysis of the quantity and
composition of municipal solid waste streams involves estimating the volumes generated, recycled,
combusted, and disposed of in landfills. Waste characterization can be used to highlight opportunities for
source reduction and recycling, or to provide information on any special management issues that should
be considered.


MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE GENERATION AND CHARACTERIZATION


Generation of municipal solid waste (MSW) in 1990 totaled 195.7 million tons in the United States.
If that waste were placed in a pile one yard square at normal compacted density, it would extend 93,000
miles into space. That is about 40 percent the distance to the moon. This equates to 4.3 pounds per day
per person of municipal solid waste. Recycling and composting reduced the amount to 3.6 pounds per
person per day. The projection for the year 2000 is a total of 222 million tons or 4.5 pounds per person
per day. These figures include an expanding population and increases in the percentages of recovery
through recycling.

Recovery of MSW materials for recycling and composting was 17 percent in 1990. Combustion
accounted for 16 percent more, leaving 67 percent to be sent to landfills in one form or another.

The results of a characterization of MSW material by volume show that paper and paperboard
products comprise 32 percent (after recovery), plastics 21 percent, and yard trimmings 10 percent.









TRENDS IN MSW GENERATION. RECOVERY. AND DISCARDS


In the thirty year period from 1960 to 1990, generation of MSW grew from 88 million to over 195
million tons per year. This increase resulted from population growth and a per capital increase from 2.7
to 4.3 pounds per person per day. Recovery from MSW has increased gradually from about 7 percent of
the MSW generated in 1960 to 17 percent in 1990. It is projected to reach 25 to 35 percent in the year
2000. This goal can only be reached by recovering at least 50 percent of some categories and greatly
increasing composting of yard trimng",

Incineration accounted for approximately 30 percent of the MSW generated in 1960. With closure
of incinerators not equipped with pollution control devices, this dropped to about 10 percent in 1980. More
waste to energy systems are coming on line now, so about 32 million tons or 16 percent of the total was
bumed in 1990. This is expected to increase to 46 million tons by 2000.

Landfilling of MDW will continue to be a viable option since incinerator ash cannot be treated further
and the unincinerated waste generated in smaller communities and rural areas cannot be thermally treated
due to high cost constraints. Although new landfills are difficult to site because of local NIMBY resistance,
the modem landfill has evolved into a system that can effectively control leachate and prevent groundwater
contamination previously associated with routine landfill operations. Lners comprised of natural and
man-made materials equipped with collection and treatment systems have been designed to capture
potentially contaminating liquids produced in landfills. Management of waste as it is landfilled can reduce
the amount of leachate produced as the landfill is capped when portions are completed.


CHEMICAL INDICATORS OF LANDFILL LEACHATE CONTAMINATION


In an improperly designed or outdated landfill, rainfall percolates through solid wastes deposited
in the landfill and forms a potent brew of inorganic and organic chemicals, called leachate, that ultimately
travels downward to the water table. These chemicals then migrate with the groundwater, in a direction
downgradient of the landfill. The contamination pattern that results is called a leachate plume. The
production of a leachate plume is dependent upon the accessibility of groundwater. Old landfills without
liners almost universally produce leachate plumes. Since many of these still exist and may remain active,
it is useful to determine the chemical characteristics of typical landfill leachate so that it can be detected
and recognized. These leachate characteristics are essentially the same whether or not the leachate ever
reaches groundwater. If leachate is collected, these chemicals released by the waste must be treated and
removed prior to discharge.

Because a leachate plume may degrade the groundwater supply for a large area, it is important
to determine the size of the plume and its dynamics. A plume is assessed by installing monitoring wells
downgradient of the landfill and analyzing groundwater samples for the presence of dissolved chemical
constituents. Many organic and inorganic species may be quantified, but interpretation of the analytical
results is often difficult. Several types of problems may plague groundwater sampling:

1. Contamination induced during sampling;
2. Improper preservation or too long a delay before analysis;
3. Lack of proper laboratory quality control.



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Superimposed on these problems is the fact that water chemistry at a well changes with variations
in weather, hydrogeology, landfill contents, and landfill operation. To aid in discriminating between
contamination and natural variation, there are certain chemicals that function as indicators of the presence
of landfill leachate. The following sections describe the chemical indicators found to be most useful when
examining leachate plume data.

Several common chemical constituents or parameters can provide valuable information that can
define a leachate plume from any municipal landfill in most hydrogeological settings. These include specific
conductance, ammonium ion (NH,4), chloride ion (C'), bicarbonate ion (HC0'), iron (Fe"2 and Fe"),
potassium ions (K*), and sulfate ion (SO42). Other more exotic chemicals may be present, but their
occurrence is a function of the materials that are landfilled. Unlike industrial chemical landfills, presently
operating municipal landfills should not receive large quantities of volatile synthetic organic solvents or
soluble heavy metals. However, many municipal landfills received such materials in the past.


SPECIFIC CONDUCTANCE


This is a measurement of the electrical conductance of water across a gap in a platinum electrode.
The conductance is caused by the presence of dissolved inorganic ions in an aqueous solution that are
capable of carrying an electric current. Electrical conductance is proportional to the amount of total
dissolved ions in the sample, therefore, a high conductance value may be indicative of an increased amount
of dissolved inorganic material. The measurement is made with portable meters in the field. It is useful
in estimating the total dissolved solids in a water sample, and can be used to delineate the boundaries of
leachate-contaminated groundwater.


Ammonium

The chemical environment present in a landfill combined with the relatively large amounts of
nitrogen contained in putrescible wastes can lead to substantial amounts of ammonium ion being
generated. This constituent is an excellent indicator of leachate because it often increases in concentration
more dramatically than do concentrations of other leachate species. It is also a form of nitrogen not
usually found under natural conditions. Thus, background concentrations are generally negligible, so
enriched concentrations are easy to detect.


Chloride

Large quantities of chloride ion leach from landfills. The chief virtues of this ion as an indicator are
that it is not chemically or biologically converted into other forms of chlorine, and it moves at approximately
the same velocity as groundwater. This means that chloride will be present at the leading edge of the
plume. Chloride can be easily and inexpensively measured in background samples and in the contaminant
plume.





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Bicarbonate


The presence of this ion in landfill leachate results largely from intensive biological activity, which
produces carbon dioxide gas. The gas dissolves in water to form bicarbonate and hydrogen ions. Partial
pressures of carbon dioxide gas in a landfill can be several orders of magnitude greater than the 10"35


atmospheres partial pressure found in the atmosphere. Bicarbonate, like chloride, is a negatively charged
ion, so moves unimpeded in the groundwater system. Unlike ammonium, bicarbonate may be relatively
concentrated in background water if carbonate minerals are present.


Iron

The lack of oxygen in an active landfill causes conditions that can convert relatively insoluble ferric
iron to soluble ferrous iron. This often results in high iron concentrations in leachate samples. Iron
contained in soil used as landfill cover or soil between the landfill bottom and the water table can also be
reduced and dissolved into the leachate. The result is that leachate-contaminated groundwater often
exceeds the EPA maximum contaminant level for iron.


Potassium

Solubility controls in natural soils tend to keep dissolved potassium ion concentrations several times
lower than dissolved sodium ion concentrations (Hem, 1970). Potassium also forms more soluble salts than
sodium, so much of the natural supply has left the soil and is resident in seawater. The putrescible
materials (garbage, plant and animal remains) in municipal waste are enriched in potassium. When the
materials decompose, the potassium is released and occurs at concentrations above the ambient
groundwater.


Sulfate

Sulfate behaves differently from the indicators already discussed. Although sulfate may leach out
of a landfill, substantial biological and chemical degradation often occurs in the most concentrated part of
the plume. The result is that natural sulfate and sulfate from leachate may be degraded and reduced in
concentrations.

This was true for the Babylon and Islip (New York) landfills (Kimmel and Braids, 1980). In other
cases where presumably more oxidative conditions are present, sulfate is enriched in concentration
(Pettijohn, 1977). Reducing conditions convert sulfate to sulfide which reacts to form a variety of metal
precipitates.


Waste-Specific Indicators

Municipal landfills receive wastes from industrial sources as well as residential. Some of the
materials contributed by industry may not be classified as hazardous, but may contain specific compounds
or elements that can be identified in leachate. An example is laundry water collected from commercial



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Bicarbonate


The presence of this ion in landfill leachate results largely from intensive biological activity, which
produces carbon dioxide gas. The gas dissolves in water to form bicarbonate and hydrogen ions. Partial
pressures of carbon dioxide gas in a landfill can be several orders of magnitude greater than the 10"'5


atmospheres partial pressure found in the atmosphere. Bicarbonate, like chloride, is a negatively charged
ion, so moves unimpeded in the groundwater system. Unlike ammonium, bicarbonate may be relatively
concentrated in background water if carbonate minerals are present.


Iron

The lack of oxygen in an active landfill causes conditions that can convert relatively insoluble ferric
iron to soluble ferrous iron. This often results in high iron concentrations in leachate samples. Iron
contained in soil used as landfill cover or soil between the landfill bottom and the water table can also be
reduced and dissolved into the leachate. The result is that leachate-contaminated groundwater often
exceeds the EPA maximum contaminant level for iron.


Potassium

Solubility controls in natural soils tend to keep dissolved potassium ion concentrations several times
lower than dissolved sodium ion concentrations (Hem, 1970). Potassium also forms more soluble salts than
sodium, so much of the natural supply has left the soil and is resident in seawater. The putrescible
materials (garbage, plant and animal remains) in municipal waste are enriched in potassium. When the
materials decompose, the potassium is released and occurs at concentrations above the ambient
groundwater.


Sulfate

Sulfate behaves differently from the indicators already discussed. Although sulfate may leach out
of a landfill, substantial biological and chemical degradation often occurs in the most concentrated part of
the plume. The result is that natural sulfate and sulfate from leachate may be degraded and reduced in
concentrations.

This was true for the Babylon and Islip (New York) landfills (Kimmel and Braids, 1980). In other
cases where presumably more oxidative conditions are present, sulfate is enriched in concentration
(Pettijohn, 1977). Reducing conditions convert sulfate to sulfide which reacts to form a variety of metal
precipitates.


Waste-Specific Indicators

Municipal landfills receive wastes from industrial sources as well as residential. Some of the
materials contributed by industry may not be classified as hazardous, but may contain specific compounds
or elements that can be identified in leachate. An example is laundry water collected from commercial



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REFERENCES


Hem, J. 1970. Study and Interpretation of the Chemical Characteristics of Natural Water, 2nd ed.,
Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 1473, Washington, DC.
Kimmel, G.E. and O.C. Braids. 1980. Leachate Plumes in G Water from Babylon and Islip Landfills,
Long Island, New York, Geological Survey Professional Paper 1085, Washington, DC.

Pettijohn, R.A. 1977. Nature and Extent of Groundwater Quality Changes Resulting from Solid Waste
Disposal, Marion County, Indiana, Water Resources Investigations 77-40, U.S. Geological Survey,
Washington, DC.

































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