Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Landfill or Dump?

    Some people use landfill and dump site as interchanging words but there really is a significant difference as to what they are and how they're operated and regulated. It's very important for our environment to carefully mind which one is used and how. Landfills are strictly designed and regulated by the government. Dump sites are big holes in the ground used to bury waste not regulated by the government and can be hazardous to any surrounding areas.

    Before a company can open a Landfill on a site, the site itself has to go through rigorous studies to determine if there will be an environmental impact on the surrounding area, how much land is needed, ground water testing and water tables, if there are any historical and archeological values to the site, and proceed by following all local regulations put in place for the site itself. The other most important requirement for a landfill is to line the area with a heavy duty liner made of reinforced plastics to keep any liquid waste from penetrating the ground causing hazards to any water supplies or earth. Once all regulations are set in place the dumping begins. Every truck load of waste is compacted by bulldozers to eliminate air space and allowing more waste to be dumped. The site is then covered with layers of soil daily to prevent pests from entering and smells from exiting the site. This process repeats for years until the site reaches its max and is closed down. The site is then monitored for another 30 or more years to make sure there are no environmental hazards and can be eventually turned into a useable piece of land such as a park. 

    Dump sites have a less rigorous process as they are not regulated by any government. They are simply large excavated areas used to dump trash and waste. Dumps are more commonly found in rural areas but can really be found anywhere and typically are not controlled with the layering of soils to keep smells and pests away. They tend to be hazardous to groundwater systems as they lack the regulated liner at the bottom of the site to avoid any seepage of liquid waste. Because of such hazards, dumps are considered illegal but there might be a dump site here or there that does slip through the cracks.

    The next time you interchange the words 'landfill' and 'dump', remember that hazards can come with the sites themselves. Always use your better judgment and avoid creating your own dump site, stick with landfills and keep your environment clean and healthy!

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