In the fall of 2014, the city of Beatrice was looking at approximately six years of remaining air space in our last remaining landfill cell.

It was decided that the city would need to look into options to continue operating a landfill. The belief was, the city would need to begin permitting on 80 acres of city-owned land directly southwest of the current landfill for construction of a new landfill.

In the summer of 2015, the city sent out a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the designs for a new landfill. During this process, a proposal was presented to the city to utilize an existing 5.5-acre area between what is the old landfill and the new landfill. This option became known as the piggyback.

This proposal would allow the city to stay in its current location and utilize existing infrastructure, as well as gain an estimated six years of existing air space for land-filling. This proposal was accepted and the engineering and permitting process with the Nebraska Department of Environment Quality began.

Construction of the of the new piggyback cell began in May of 2017 with approximately 80,000 cubic yards of soil and material removed and stockpiled on site. In order to achieve the maximum total capacity for the cell, the bottom of the cell was lowered approximately 20 feet from previous grade.

Once the correct depth of the cell was achieved, the floor of the cell was lined with a compacted clay liner. Then, a 60-millimeter, high-density, polyethylene (HDPE) liner was placed over the clay. Finally, another foot of compacted clay was placed over the HDPE. To allow drainage of any water that seeps down through the garbage onto the liner, a perforated drainage line was installed across the entire length of the cell and covered in different layers of sand and then gravel.

During the construction, we encountered your typical construction problems, with heavy rains causing delays. However, one delay that surprised us was, during excavation, the contractor unearthed a large asbestos dumping location. Color coding on the bags of the asbestos led us it to believe it had been buried in the mid 1980’s.

During our pre-construction permitting process, boring samples had been taken of the whole area and this asbestos site was missed by a matter of feet. While finding the asbestos buried in a landfill area was not completely surprising, the fact that the location was not marked on paperwork was.

Removing this asbestos from the construction area added a couple of days to construction, but total construction was completed ahead of time. Construction of the new piggyback cell was completed in September.

Currently, we anticipate closing out our current cell by February of 2018 and beginning to put garbage into the new piggyback shortly after.

With the construction of the new cell complete, and gaining approximately six years of air space to our current location, we will again begin discussions in 2018 about construction of a new landfill facility. With environmental studies, permitting, construction of cells and infrastructure taking approximately five years to complete, we look forward to what the future brings.