The mission of the Hinkley Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management is to coordinate and engage in research, training and service activities related to solid and hazardous waste management.

    Is there any evidence, based on 20+ years of relatively intense water quality monitoring, that lined landfills are leaking liquids to the point at which water quality standards are being exceeded beyond the zone of discharge?
    If a landfill is impacting groundwater resources, there are a few indicator parameters that would provide clear evidence that this is occurring. In the early 1990s, Subtitle D was enacted, and Florida significantly increased its list of parameters in order to earn “approved” status with USEPA. More than 20 years later, it is clear that liner systems work, yet we continue to monitor for countless parameters at lined sites (at great expense for little benefit to the environment). Please note that this idea is not proposing any reduction in water quality monitoring for unlined landfills.  There is clear evidence that unlined landfills are having a negative impact on groundwater quality.
    What parameters best give evidence of leachate impacts to groundwater? Could a list of indicator parameters be developed that would give a clear indication of landfill-related impacts to groundwater?  If so, could this shorter list of parameters be substituted for the current FDEP list of parameters that must be monitored for at lined landfills?

    If lined landfills are indeed protecting the environment and the liner is protective of groundwater, does it make sense to spend millions of dollars statewide monitoring an incredibly long list of parameters twice per year? Some landfills have over a hundred such monitoring wells.

     What are the leachate management practices being used in Florida and the Southeast United States?  This project would involve a survey of the different methods used for leachate management at landfills in Florida and the Southeast United States to see what lessons can be learned and shared with the industry.  Based on the survey data, assess how the uses of tarps, smaller daily working areas, and other important facts affect leachate generation rates.  Also, assess which methods have been effectively and economically used to treat or pre-treat leachate on-site (constructed wetlands; moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) system; irrigating vetiver grass; irrigating a landfill phytocover to reduce fugitive methane emissions; drip irrigation of fast growing trees such as poplar trees, etc).

    The ability to model gas movement within and outside the landfill (especially for unlined sites) is a big challenge.  Currently, gas collection and control designs are mainly based on experience and/or trial and error.  For example, to control subsurface gas migration from a landfill, owners have four options: (i) an in-waste passive venting system; (ii) an in-waste active extraction system; (iii) an out-of-waste passive venting system; and (iv) an out-of-waste active extraction system. Which system, or combination of systems, will be effective in controlling gas migration at a specific site should ideally be determined based on site specific conditions and good modeling/predictive tools.  This is not how it is currently done.  The research would involve evaluating different commercial models and determining which ones do a good job in modeling landfill gas movement within and surrounding a landfill.  Validating the models using real data would be the first step.  Modeling different site conditions and drawing conclusions on effective collection methods for different site conditions would be the second step.

    Until recently, the assumption that Post-Closure Care (PCC) will be required for a fixed term (generally 30 years) has represented the status quo for the landfill industry.  However, federal and state regulations are actually performance-based rather than time-based: 30 years is used as a guide, but PCC is required until demonstration of no threat to human health or the environment at the relevant point of exposure.  Recent scrutiny of performance-based requirements (including research funded by the Hinkley Center) has shown that while some PCC components may “end” within 30 years, other components will likely be required over the very long term, essentially in perpetuity, albeit at reduced levels.  Extended funding for such components is typically not considered in estimates of Financial Assurance (FA).  Further, examination of funding for very long-term care reveals another potentially unfunded liability: provision of “routine” PCC (i.e., monitoring and maintenance under the PCC plan) is typically included in FA, however, responding to “non-routine” events (i.e., major seismic or climate-induced events such as hurricanes or tornados, fires, etc.) is not. However, as the duration of care is extended, the likelihood of a catastrophic, non-routine event occurring also increases.  Addressing these two gaps in the provision of care will require a paradigm shift in how:  1) PCC liabilities are identified and estimated so appropriate funds can be accrued during the operating life of the landfill to fund provision of care once they stop receiving waste and close; 2) Risks affecting closed facilities are evaluated and “priced”; and 3) PCC funds are managed to ensure that there will be enough funding to provide care for the foreseeable future.

    Background:  The introduction of the perpetual care concept makes current FA practices (i.e., ignoring non-routine events, investing in conservative funds, and/or accepting the landfill owner’s balance sheet as proof of funding availability) untenable, as it would lead to either landfills being underfunded at some time in the future or collecting an inordinate amount of money to fund the true post closure liabilities.  This proposal seeks to quantify the risks associated with provision of care for routine and non-routine events under a perpetual model, and also investigate appropriate mechanisms for funding such care.  Some radioactive waste facilities (Utah, Washington State, etc) and some hazardous waste disposal facilities are required to either annually deposit very large sums of money into a state-run investment fund or have sufficient funds on deposit to provide enough return (interest) for true “perpetual care”.  The cemetery industry uses a model that requires that funds be deposited in a fund that generates enough interest to provide funding for true “perpetual care”.

    Biochar is a by-product of pyrolysis and has been used beneficially as a soil amendment to increase agricultural yields, and also to promote (re-)vegetation of poor soils/sites.  When biochar is used as a soil amendment, it primarily increases the organic matter content, improves soil structure, and increases water and nutrient retention.  There is limited information available to adequately “design” the optimum amount of biochar for a specific soil.  The proposed research project, possibly/hopefully conducted in collaboration with a producer of biochar, should assess the effect of biochar content on the health and sustainability of vegetation grown in a poor soil, which is typical for soils used as landfill covers.  The testing should focus on a specific, nutrient-deficient native soil and a diverse mixture of native vegetation typically used to vegetate landfill covers.  Following a characterization phase in which the biochar and the biochar-amended soil is characterized using standard agronomic parameters as well as synthetic precipitation leaching procedures (SPLP) (and potentially toxicity characterization leaching procedure (TCLP)) tests, the success will be assessed of establishing vegetation within the amended soils as a function of biochar content.  The primary testing should focus on quantifying the benefits of the biochar amendment by assessing germination rates, root development, and coverage on a series of test plots.  Following establishment of the vegetation, the plots should possibly be subjected to stress by imposing periods of drought to assess impacts to the vegetation.  Recommendations should be provided regarding the optimal levels of biochar amendments for sustainable landfill cover applications.

    What are the potential impacts of consolidation of solid waste management services in the state of Florida?

    Background:  The research can look at the consolidation of solid waste disposal and recycling facilities across the state of Florida. The New River Solid Waste Authority (NRSWA owns and operates the New River Regional Landfill.  The NRSWA is a special unit of government governed by the county commissions of three counties (Baker County, Bradford County and Union County). The NRSWA was formed in 1988.  The NRSWA is a very efficient way of managing and consolidating the waste management for several counties in north-central Florida. Waste Management’s Okeechobee County landfill operation is over 20-years old and has helped consolidate portions of the waste management in the southeast area of the State.  There is a potential for the siting of another regional private waste disposal facility in Sumter County which could provide for consolidating solid waste operations from nearby counties. What if this were done in other areas of the state? Does consolidation help with lowering tipping fees, improving recycling and in general provide for safer management of solid waste? Do regional landfills help keep tipping fees low?  What are the positive and negative impacts of these regional landfills? The county-owned NRSWA and the privately owned (WM) facility in Okeechobee County can serve as two case studies for assisting other municipalities regarding the potential benefits from the consolidation of waste management services.  The Monarch Hill WM facility could also be included in this study as it receives waste from a number of locations in South Florida.  Other privately operated regional landfills in Georgia that are very close to the Florida-Georgia state line that serve areas in Florida (such as the Spring Hill landfill owned and operated by WM) could also be studied.  The Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County could also be studied as this facility receives limited amounts of waste from outside of Palm Beach County.  As current landfills reach the end of their life, new landfills may need to be planned on a regional basis. Information generated by this type of study could be useful as a tool in targeting areas where other types of service consolidation agreements may be feasible.

    Substitution of shredded/chipped waste tires for drainage sand in Subtitle-D landfill bottom liner system. 

    Background:  What if a portion of the required 24-inch “sand” drainage layer was substituted with shredded/chipped tires?  Can the entire sand layer be replaced with shredded/chipped tires? What would be the impact on the leachate collection system, the transmissivity of the combined layer, the shear strength of sand combined with shredded/chipped tires? What should be the required thickness if shredded/chipped tires are used? Is it possible to eventually do away with use of the sand in the drainage layer and use shredded/chipped tires solely? Drainage sand is expensive (cost $65 a ton for a recent Florida landfill project).  In addition, sand is very hard to keep in place without a temporary tarp cover. The sand tends to grow algae even before you put garbage on it. The algae causes a loss in the transmissivity of the sand. Are shredded/chipped tires a more effective long-term drainage media relative to drainage sand?  Can shredded/chipped tires withstanding the weight of the garbage placed over it? The integrity of the drainage sand may not perform as well as we would like after 30-60 years of operation and closure. With the material properties of Composite Drainage Net and some of the new products they are coming out with, it appears there is a possibility we may have a more effective way of getting the leachate out in the long-term relative to the use of the sand and traditional leachate collection pipes. What if we find out the transmissivity of 12-24 inches of shredded/chipped tires with a high transmissivity CDN is just as effective as fresh sand?  Is there an opportunity to use shredded/chipped tires for more than the top 12-inches of the drainage layer?  What is the long-term transmissivity of shredded/chipped tires when they are compressed under the weight of a landfill that has reached capacity?  The objective would be to develop design criteria and procedures for FDEP rule making and reusing discarded tires as a cost-effective means of improving the engineering properties of the landfill drainage system.

    62-701 FAC liner and closure requirements for Class I and Class III landfills are almost identical. Is there a need to eliminate different class designations from the rules? What are the impacts?

    State wide solid waste strategies for public-private partnership (i.e. Marion County investing in a private landfill venture; IRC participating in Ineos plant); future perspectives and possibilities?

    Public education strategies- waste avoidance, waste reduction, waste recycling, banning materials/renewable resources from solid waste. How public policy can change people’s perceptions and habits in waste management.

    The subtitle D landfill rules in Florida will be 25-years old next year. What are the lessons learned? How effective are these rules in protecting Florida groundwater, surface water and other natural resources? Where do we go from here?

    What are the impacts on groundwater, and surface water when compost produced from municipal solid waste is land applied?

    What are the new recycling technologies?  Are they cost effective?  What is the material quality after recycling?

    What are the innovations in packaging material for solid waste reduction, electronic waste?

    What new developments have been made in the biological treatment technologies for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)?  What is new in the use of composting and anaerobic digestion in the treatment of MSW?

    What is the effect on product quality; degradation and fate of emerging pollutants during biological treatment?  What are the emissions from the solid waste processing facilities?

    What new, emerging technologies and current technologies are there for thermal treatment/gasification of solid waste?  What are the emission controls?  What happens to the residues?  How are they disposed of? What are the new technologies that are in use for the production and use of fuel that has been “manufactured” from solid waste?

    Three classes of waste that significantly impact current waste streams are third class bulk mail (junk mail), packaging that is packed by weight not volume and packaging made with colored-gloss-cardboard and hard plastic. Research may be conducted on these waste streams individually or in combination.  How much of the above is produced weight and volume? What percentage is currently recycled and at what cost?  Geographic areas with and without recycling programs should be included for all. 

    Background:  Achieving zero waste faces many challenges. Behavioral modification, in-place infrastructure and costs associated with new processes and procedures are all important factors regarding this topic. EPA indicates that forty percent of landfilled material is paper or paper-based. Forty to forty one percent of all junk mail enters the landfill unopened.  What is the impact of junk mail and other types of packaging on landfill space and decomposition rates?

    What are the costs associated with curbside collection, recycling and landfilling?  Included in the analysis should be the fuel costs and emissions impact.

    Mandatory or Voluntary:  Are the potential costs of mandatory recycling systems worth it?

    Background:  The majority of residential and commercial recycling programs in Florida are voluntary, and participants do not face any penalty for failing to participate.  There are programs around the United States that have made recycling mandatory.  The question is whether the presumed benefits of higher participation rates and larger volumes of recovered materials collected justify the expected higher administration and enforcement costs of mandatory recycling.  The first effort would be to determine the number of mandatory recycling programs in Florida.  If an insufficient number of mandatory programs exist within the State, mandatory programs throughout the United States should be included.  The nature of the mandatory programs should also be assessed.  Some may be mandatory in name only, with no substantive monitoring or enforcement.  Others may have significant enforcement programs.  These two types will have to be differentiated and their associated programs costs analyzed separately.  The amount of recovered materials collected, per capita, per household, or per business can be determined.  The costs of the programs, particularly the public information costs, and monitoring and enforcement costs should be calculated.  The cost-effectiveness of mandatory programs, with strict or informal enforcement can be compared to voluntary programs to determine if any difference exists between them.  The objective is a report that may be used in public policy discussions of recycling programs to inform the decision-makers regarding the costs and effectiveness of voluntary and mandatory recycling programs.

    What are the costs of operating gas collection and leachate management systems for Florida landfills??

    Background:  Managing landfill gas and leachate are not optional for landfills.  Regulatory requirements obligate landfills to collect and manage gas and leachate.  Beyond the initial capital cost of installing gas and leachate management systems, extensive effort is required to operate and maintain these systems. Many factors impact the costs associated with gas and leachate management.  At the same time, no comprehensive examination of those costs has been done to determine how variable those costs are, and the major factors impacting operating costs.  The objective of this study will be to survey Florida landfills (using existing data as well as developing new data on costs where needed) to determine costs of operating and maintaining gas and leachate collection systems.  Factors such as maintenance costs, disposal costs, and reliability can be considered.  The study can also evaluate the best metrics on which to establish costs.  What is the best unit on which to evaluate system costs?  Is it cost per gallon of leachate or cubic foot of gas?  Is it per acre of landfill space managed?  Is it per cubic yard of airspace filled?  The evaluation of cost must be based on the most appropriate unit, and it is not clear that there is consensus on what that unit should be.  The objective of the study is a report that will look at costs over a variety of facilities and operating environments and develop appropriate units and benchmarks with which to determine the cost-effectiveness of landfill gas and leachate management operations.

    What policies, techniques, programs, and incentives lead to the greatest amount of recycling and waste diversion occurring in a community?   What different program considerations, or mix of program approaches, must be applied to be effective in different/heterogeneous socioeconomic environments? Is it possible to measure the degree of cost effectiveness for successful program approaches across different socioeconomic environments?  (e.g.., what investment is required and what is a reasonable return on investment that should be expected for a new program or approach?  Is there a point of diminishing returns for outreach and promotion?) What considerations related to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of recycling programs should be considered by program managers? The basic question, is not only what works best in recycling; but where, when, why, and how much?  A complementary question is what approaches do not work, but keep being done?

    Background:  Florida has set an ambitious 75 percent recycling goal for the year 2020.  Research concerning what works best, where, when, why, and at what cost to improve recycling and waste diversion could prove to be helpful to Florida’s solid waste programs managers.  Research should look not only at Florida, but across the country and world, to identify top performing waste recycling and diversions programs.

    What can be done to encourage businesses to recycle more than they currently do?  One obvious solution is to demonstrate that business will save money by recycling certain materials (e.g., metals), rather than disposing of those materials.  What can be done to publicize the potential savings to businesses?  

    Background:  If Florida wants to achieve a 75% recycling rate, it will need to increase the amount of recycling done by businesses. Questions/issues should explicitly address recycling by commercial entities.  In many communities, the commercial sector produces a majority of the waste, but recycles very little.

    Where do we stand today with regard to the management of discarded CCA-treated wood in Florida?   Is there more (or less) CCA-treated wood in the waste stream today than was anticipated?  Are we seeing arsenic (or copper or chromium) in the groundwater around unlined landfills and C&D disposal sites that have accepted wood waste?  Are there newer, better, or less expensive ways of detecting and segregating CCA-treated wood when it arrives at a disposal facility or a C&D processing/recycling facility?  Have other communities or countries identified better ways of managing CCA-treated wood (e.g., through recycling/reuse)?  Are we seeing any new problems arising from the use of the chemicals (ACQ, borates, etc.) that are being used instead of CCA?

    Background:  The Hinkley Center sponsored research in the past that was highly successful in identifying real and potential problems associated with the use and disposal of CCA-treated wood products.  The prior research predicted that the amount of CCA-treated wood in the waste stream would continue to increase for quite a few years after the sale of CCA-treated wood to the general public was curtailed.  Have the predictions been matched by the facts in the field?

    Is it economical to use C&D residue as alternative landfill cover?

    Background:  C&D wastes can contain a large amount of less valuable inert material.  Can these less valuable C&D materials be economically reused as alternative landfill cover?  Depending on local markets, high value C&D recyclables can be profitably separated and recycled, however, disposal of the residue can be a problem.  Can the residue be economically ground for alternative landfill cover?  If so, what additional sorting/processing is required?  This option has the potential to save natural resources and help meet the states recycling goal in rural areas with limited C&D markets and/or in developed areas where clean fill is sold at a premium.

    What are the benefits of using natural gas fleets to assist with local fuel station economics?

    Background:  Natural gas vehicles can be very economical to operate provided there is good access to fueling stations.  However “quick-fill” natural gas fueling stations are expensive.  Is there any social or economic benefit to local governments to allow high-fuel-use-fleets like privately-owned solid waste collection vehicles to used publicly-owned natural gas fueling stations?    If so, what are the potential social-economic benefits and viable options for local governments?

    What are the short term and long term effects of high H2s (>10,000 ppm) in Landfill Gas on Gas Collection and Control System components?

    Research is needed in the area of alternate odor control methods at landfills.  We are not sure exactly what this would include but perhaps some sort of chemical or additive could be added to the waste at the time of placement of the waste that would slow decomposition of the waste until a cover is put in place that would dramatically reduce fugitive odors. Landfill operators are in dire need of something that would allow the operators to reduce/control fugitive odors at the working face until they can get the waste covered and other traditional methods of cover or controls are installed.  ? 

    What is the number of facilities (and quantities) of Fossil Fuel Combustion Products (FCCP) produced in Florida?  What is the breakdown of quantities of FFCP produced by the types of FFCP listed in Section (1) (b) of FS 403.7047?  What are the current uses and market demands of FFCP? Is Florida a net importer or exporter of FFCP?  What are some possible impediments to future uses?  What is the predicted future availability of FFCP given that the current very low price of natural gas has caused a shift from the use of coal to natural gas as a fuel in power plants?  Will sufficient quantities of FFCP be available to the FDOT in the future given the shift from coal to natural gas in the electric power production industry?

    Background:  Florida Statute 403.7047?Regulation of Fossil Fuel Combustion Products (FFCP) was enacted by the 2013 Florida Legislature.  This legislation could raise several issues.  How does this legislation impact the production and use of FFCP? Many coal-fired power plants have been taken offline or have been converted to be used as “peaking units” rather than “base load units”.  FFCP Fly Ash is very important to the FDOT as it is added to concrete to reduce the ability of chlorides to move through the concrete and cause corrosion of the rebar in the concrete.

    Is it possible for carbon nanotubes to be used as a fiber reinforcement to increase the tensile strength of concrete? How effective is this?

    Is there a beneficial effect on global warming by converting asphalt pavements to concrete pavements as a means of reducing temperature around the planet (concrete pavements have a higher relative reflectivity and generate less heat.)

    At what point do waste reduction processes become waste producing processes because of the energy requirements and pollutant production related to transportation, handling and processing?  Compare the energy and carbon foot prints of various solid waste management techniques including, but not limited to, landfilling, waste-to-energy (WTE) by incineration, recycling specifically paper and plastics where WTE is available, gasification and composting.

    Background:  The USEPA is completing testing and validation of the Leaching Environmental Assessment Framework (LEAF) as a new tool to characterize leaching behaviors of a wide range of materials.  LEAF is a collection of leaching tests, data management tools and leaching assessment approaches that may be used as a management tool to make decisions regarding beneficial use of solid wastes, soils, and construction products.


    There are a number of questions that need to be answered to assess how LEAF may be used in Florida:

    Is it appropriate to use these tests in Florida?
    How may LEAF be used to make beneficial use determinations for a number of solid waste issues (drinking water treatment sludge, coal ash, MSW ash, contaminated soils, etc.) in Florida?
    LEAF involves a number of different leaching tests that include an extensive range of parameters that can be very expensive to perform.  Which parameters are appropriate for the various types of materials that are typically encountered in Florida, and which parameters are not necessary?
    The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has made a number of management decisions regarding disposal and beneficial use of many types of solid waste.  In many cases these decisions were based on Synthetic Precipitation Leaching Procedure (SPLP) and total metals test results to determine risk to groundwater.  How does LEAF compare/correlate with these tests on these specific materials?
    Florida does not have a beneficial use rule.  Should the beneficial use demonstration process include the LEAF to determine risk to groundwater in beneficial use evaluation?

    Background:  Florida municipal solid waste management practices consist mostly of collection  of mixed solid waste and comingled clean recyclables, processing and recovery of clean recyclables in material recovery facilities, and disposal in landfills and waste-to-energy facilities.  The Florida Legislature enacted a statewide 75% recycling goal to be achieved by 2020, and there is much discussion in the solid waste industry about achieving zero waste. Meanwhile, several communities in the United States and around the world are implementing advanced solid waste management programs with claims of very high recovery rates.


    It would be beneficial to Florida solid waste management program decision makers to have a better understanding of advanced solid waste management programs that are being implemented in other regions/counties.  Specific questions that should be answered include:

    What programs in the United States and other countries have implemented integrated solid waste management programs that have verified information that indicates 75% or greater recycling?  Benchmark the top performing systems against top performing Florida systems.
    How realistic are their claims?
    How were these rates achieved?
    What obstacles were encountered and how were they overcome?
    How could these technologies/approaches be implemented in Florida?
    What would the cost of these programs be if implemented in Florida?

    What programs in the United States and other countries have implemented integrated solid waste management programs that have verified information that indicates 75% or greater recycling?  Benchmark the top performing systems against top performing Florida systems.  How realistic are their claims?  How were these rates achieved?  What obstacles were encountered and how were they overcome?  How could these technologies/approaches be implemented in Florida?  What would the cost of these programs be if implemented in Florida?

    Background:  Florida municipal solid waste management practices consist mostly of collection of mixed solid waste and comingled clean recyclables, processing and recovery of clean recyclables in material recovery facilities, and disposal in landfills and waste-to-energy facilities.  The Florida Legislature enacted a statewide 75% recycling goal to be achieved by 2020, and there is much discussion in the solid waste industry about achieving “zero waste”.  Meanwhile, several communities in the United States and around the world are implementing advanced solid waste management programs with claims of very high recovery rates.

    Leachate disposal and treatment is an expensive budget item for Florida landfills. Leachate from many Florida landfills is either transported using a tanker truck or sent via a pipeline to be treated at publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities. Wastewater treatment plant operators are increasingly choosing to not accept leachate due to the operational problems that leachate may cause.  In some cases, landfill owners must pay to transport the leachate long distances to larger wastewater treatment plants that have the capacity to treat the leachate. Leachate often contains high concentrations of ammonia which are problematic for the wastewater treatment plants.  As a result, landfill owners have to either build an onsite treatment plant or pay extra charges for offsite treatment of the ammonia at the sewage treatment plant.  Leachate also contains recalcitrant organic compounds such as humic acids and organic nitrogen which pass through the wastewater treatment process with very little degradation. High concentrations of dissolved ions such as chloride in leachate from landfills that accept waste to energy ash may also be problematic. How serious are these problems? What are the costs for the hauling and treatment at offsite treatment plants in distant locations?  What reliable options are available for landfill operators in terms of onsite treatment (or pretreatment) of the leachate to reduce the problematic constituents in leachate (organic nitrogen, ammonia, chloride, humic acids, etc.)? What are the costs? What landfill operational changes are possible to reduce these compounds in situ?

    Many Florida landfills are experiencing clogging of the pipes in their leachate collection system (LCS). What is the long-term fate of an LCS after being buried in a landfill cell for many years?  What is the actual long-term performance of an LCS?  Do they perform in the manner that was used in the theoretical calculations in the design phase of the LCS?  Do they clog up?  Do they maintain less than one foot of head of leachate on the liner?   How does the sand or gravel that is placed around the LCS pipes perform?  Does it clog?  If there is carbonate in the sand or gravel that was used in the construction of an LCS, does the carbonate play a role in the clogging of an LCS?  If a geotextile is placed above or around the LCS, does it clog? What field-based research can be done to validate all the calculations and assumptions that are used in the design of a leachate collection system?

    Background:  There is an interesting report on a recycling study that was conducted in England in 2006 that touches on this topic – AEAT/ED51352/Issue 1, Evaluation of the Household Waste Incentives Pilot Scheme, Final Report to the United Kingdom, Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs  (UK DEFRA, Waste Strategy Division) July 2006.  Please review the following links:  and

    Will the (a) cleaning, rehabilitation and lining of manholes, wet wells, and lift stations associated with MSW landfill leachate collection systems (to make them “airtight”) and (b) connecting them into the gas collection system cut down on the fugitive release of methane and H2S gas and odors from landfills and the leachate collection systems? Based on the “sewage treatment plant collection and transmission system” philosophy of lining manholes, wet wells, and lift stations, to reduce the fugitive emission of H2S gasses, perhaps the same technique/practice can be applied to the solid waste industry to reduce fugitive emissions from landfills and leachate collection systems.  Is this a cost-effective strategy for reducing fugitive emissions from landfills and leachate collection systems?

    What is available and working in terms of municipal solid waste conversion technologies? 

    Local governments are often approached by vendors selling a new (and unproven) technology or idea to make solid waste management more cost effective. Are these technologies viable?  Do they work?  Where are they currently being used, for how long, and are they successful?  Research is needed to provide a scientific, unbiased analysis of new MSW technologies and approaches. There is an attachment at the end of this document that has information related to this issue.

      Background:  The City of Guelph (Ontario, Canada) previously provided a manual curbside service to collect bags of organic waste, recyclables and garbage. The collection truck stopped in front of your home, the driver stepped out and picked up your bags of green (for food waste and organic waste that will be composted) and blue waste (for recyclables) by hand, and put them in the correct compartment of the truck. A second truck and driver then went through the same process for your clear bag (waste that is not organic or recyclable that is going to be landfilled).  The new cart program offers an automatedThis system uses new trucks that allow the driver to control a mechanical arm on the vehicle to pick up and empty the waste carts from the curb into the correct compartment and return them to the curb.  While organic waste is picked up weekly, recyclables and garbage are only collected bi-weekly.  The truck is compartmentalized, to allow for separation at the curb.  For more information-

        What are the relative benefits of traditional Waste-to-Energy and the new Waste Conversion Technologies that are either being proposed or are already online?  Can drying and pelletizing of the solid fraction be used as bio-fuel?


        Background:  Entec Biogas USA has reportedly successfully deigned, constructed and commissioned more than 120 full scale biogas projects worldwide.  They built the first MSW/food waste digesters in Japan and France.  Entec is currently in final design process for world’s largest biogas plant for cow manure in El Paso, Texas.  Options for product treatment include 1) Gas “upgrading” to natural gas quality and injection into a natural gas pipeline; 2) Liquid separation for the digester to produce a solid fertilizer for transport and a liquid used for fertilizer.


        What are the economic feasibility, technology effectiveness, environmental issues, and procurements for retrofits of existing solid waste treatment facilities and new solid waste treatment facilities?

        Background:  The Carrol County Maryland Solid Waste Forum, held in Carroll County, Maryland, on February 28, 2012 looked at 10 local governments that are considering purchasing technologies or investing in projects.  These governments included County of Maui, HI, Orange County, NC, Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation, Marion County, OR, City of Annapolis, MD, Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County, FL, City of Allentown, PA, New Hanover County, NC, Prince William County, VA, and City of Plano, TX.    Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Inc presented a PowerPoint presentation that looked at due diligence reviews and business planning for private companies considering purchasing solid waste treatment technologies or investing in projects.  They also conducted waste characterization and sourcing; processing conceptual design and cost estimating.  (Ref: ()
        Solar technology and power generation in closed landfills– economic evaluation of landfill post closure use.  Is it worth it?

        Municipal solid waste (MSW) management practices have moderate to high impacts on water resources. The Water Footprint (WFP) is a state-of-the-art measure of both direct and indirect uses of fresh water over the entire process life cycle.  Determination of the WFP of MSW management practices would allow better understanding of the trade-offs among water use efficiency, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, pollutant discharges, and cost of these practices. A WFP calculation would help managers select the appropriate MSW treatment and disposal approaches with respect to local water availability and impacts, particularly important in water-scarce areas. Knowledge of WFP of MSW practices can help decision makers understand the efficiency of MSW processes and practices with respect to sustainability considerations. Application of the WFP of MSW would help with sustainable appropriation of freshwater resources, evaluating trade-offs with respect to water allocations and pollution loadings.


         Attachment for Question #41

        1. What is available and working in terms of municipal solid waste conversion technologies?

        Example:  Southern California Demonstration Projection.  This project is examining various MSW thermal conversion processes.  Their plan is to place pilot-scale thermal conversion plants at Transfer Stations and Material Recycling Facilities (MRF) in Los Angeles County.    MRF co-location would have numerous benefits, including: readily available feedstock, pre-processing capacity, appropriate zoning already in place for the project, transportation avoidance etc.  This project is seeking projects that would be funded by the venture capital market.  This innovative project is a catalyst for private sector investment/pubic partnership.   (Ref:  ,  and )  Coby Skye of the Los Angeles Public Works Department, Solid Waste Section is a good contact for this issue.

        Example:  Landfill Gas-to-Energy:  The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) supports the environmentally sound conversion of landfill gas to energy as a higher-end use where gas would otherwise be released uncontrolled to the environment or flared.

        Example:  Bioreactor Technology:  Yolo County Landfill, as gas-to-energy conversion bioreactor.  Using controlled fluids, waste input and isolation, a bioreactor can reduce wastes in much less time than normally practiced generating useful landfill gas to power energy conversion engines.

        Example:  Microturbine Technology: as well as many other landfills, uses new in large "fields" to generate electric energy from landfill gas. Small, light, portable and easily assembled into generating fields, microturbines are an efficient means to generate electricity from landfill gas.

        Example:  Fuel Cell Technology: Use of to convert methane gas into the hydrogen components for fuel cell operation. Use in a landfill in southern California in Santa Ana is in proposal.

        Example:  Biodiesel: Biodiesel is a nontoxic, biodegradable replacement for petroleum diesel. Biodiesel is made from vegetable oil, recycled cooking oil and tallow. This technology converts wastes such as cooking oils and grease into a functional clean-burning diesel fuel substitute.  CalRecycle is currently funding a research project in Yosemite Valley with the University of California, Riverside as the contractor. The project is using oils and greases from the Yosemite Valley concessionaires and converting it to biodiesel which is being tested in a bus in Yosemite Valley. Emissions testing were conducted in the summer and winter and results will be available shortly.

        Example:  Waste-to-Energy

        Digesters: This technology can convert waste biomass and its resultant biogas into useful on-site energy. One company, , markets and operates an anaerobic digester, which quickly decomposes a variety of food and animal wastes. Onsite has successfully designed and installed a large fuel cell energy conversion system into a Southern California wastewater treatment plant and has constructed a pilot digester system at the University of California, Davis. A similar facility will be constructed at CSU, Channel Islands in Ventura County.

        Onsite Power integrates its digesters with power plants. This technology can utilize many wastes including green waste, animal bedding, and agricultural residues. In addition, Riverside County, the Coachella Valley Association of Governments, and Waste Management, Inc. have selected an anaerobic digestion process to be constructed adjacent to a transfer station that will be sited at the Edom Hill Landfill near Cathedral City. Additional resources include:

        (Adobe PDF, 54 KB): Graph of waste stream, list of digester feedstocks, end products and other applications under testing.

        Thermal Conversion Process: The thermal conversion process is a technology that enables the conversion of waste feedstock into specialty chemicals, oils, gases, carbons and fertilizers. The thermal conversion process, or TCP, mimics the earth’s natural geothermal process by using water, heat and pressure to chemically reform organic and inorganic wastes into useful chemicals and compounds. These materials are supplied in their raw forms and can be delivered as the original materials as in plastics from computer cases, tires or solid waste streams. These materials are first reduced into a manageable homogeneous material that can be fed into the TCP processing system. The TCP process reduces them into the basic molecules as fuel gas, oils and other useful materials. Even heavy metals are transformed into harmless oxides.

        Alternative Caps (ACAP):  New in landfill caps instead of the prescriptive clay cap designs currently employed in landfills. These new cover designs can employ plastic HDPE layers, clay geotextiles and monolithic or mono-covers. The advent of is creating another frontier in cover design. The Yolo County Landfill is one instance where a bioreactor is being employed.

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