In the last year and half that I have been the landfill superintendent, I’ve learned so much about operating a landfill in Nebraska. When I first took over as interim landfill superintendent, I knew very little about landfills and thought I was just going to manage the landfill until a replacement could be found.
Every day I learn something new from managing the landfill, from working with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and knowing the landfill permits, what can and cannot be allowed into the landfill, increasing landfill revenue streams, gas well monitoring, windblown litter, asbestos, and of course the wonderful smell.
One interesting concept I’ve seen at other landfills is something called a customer drop off. Currently a large percentage of the garbage that enters into the landfill is bailed and taken into the landfill by the landfill operators, but some of the garbage cannot be bailed. This garbage requires the customer to drive into the landfill to drop off their garbage. This creates many issues for the operator working the landfill, as they now have to watch for a smaller vehicle or stop to guide a vehicle as where to dump.
A customer drop off is in essence a loading dock with large roll off style dumpsters located off at the end of it. As customers pull across the scale they are informed which side of the loading dock to back onto and unload their garbage into a roll off that is then picked up by a landfill operator and taken into the landfill and dumped.
By not allowing the public into the landfill, we reduce the chances of accidents between large landfill equipment and smaller customer vehicles. This will also prevent customers from damaging tires driving into the landfill. Plans are currently in place for the city street department to construct a customer drop off at the landfill this summer.
Right now we are at an exciting time for the landfill as we are preparing to construct another corner of our landfill. As garbage comes into the landfill most of it is bailed and compressed into bails approximately 3 feet tall by 4 feet wide by 5 feet long. These bails are stacked into the landfill in a pyramid shape.
When we construct a corner, it is extremely important for the operators to ensure that the bales are as square as possible so that our sides stay in line with the other landfill phases. Having a corner that is off would create problems from that point on the rest of the way up the landfill phase, and would have to be corrected before the landfill was capped and put into post closure.
Post closure is a 30 year monitoring period that all completed landfills have. In this period the landfill cap and vegetation, storm water runoff, groundwater wells, and methane gas wells have to be monitored.