What do landfill consultants do? In 1986, there were 7,683 MSW landfills in the United States. By 2009, there were just 1,908 active MSW landfills nationwide: a 75 percent decline in disposal facilities in less than 25 years. However, this number is deceptive. Much of the decrease is due to the consolidation of multiple landfills into a single, more efficient, and much larger facility in acres and volume. Also, technology has allowed for each acre of a landfill to take 30% more waste. So during this time, the available landfill per person has increased by almost 30%. There are far fewer Industrial, Hazardous, and C&D Waste landfills that are active. However, there are > 5,000 closed landfills including all categories mentioned above.
There are many environmental pollution controls and monitoring required for open and closed landfills including groundwater monitoring, evaluation, and statistical analyses and reporting, leachate collection and treatment/disposal, landfill gas/vapor and odor control and monitoring, liners (open sites), and landfill cover systems for waste containment. Over 300 closed landfills are on the USEPA Superfund List and hundreds more on State superfund or corrective action lists. Most of the closed landfills are totally or partially unlined and have existing environmental issues including groundwater contamination, landfill gas migration, and landfill cover system maintenance.
Landfill consultants can assist with groundwater contamination. Most of the open/active landfills that are fully lined (i.e., no unlined closed portions of the landfill) do not have groundwater contamination unless there are landfills gas migration. Landfill gas migration (as well as odor control), is more easily mitigated with the proper design of landfill gas extraction systems. Many larger landfills collect landfill gas for regulatory compliance and/or to convert to renewable energy. The largest operational expense at active and closed landfills is the collection and disposal of landfill leachate. This is due to the fluctuating changes in leachate chemistry that is usually high in organics, metals, and ammonia. When ammonia is higher than 500 ppm, many of the local sewage treatment plants reject leachate because of the strict nitrogen effluent limits on the POTW. Trucking costs to haul leachate further from rural areas to large POTWs in bigger cities is growing in expense. Leachate pre-treatment systems are available, though, to provide on-site treatment that will enable the landfill to dispose of leachate in nearby surface water and/or at the local or nearest POTW.
Landfill consultants can assist with emerging contaminants. New emerging contaminants of concern such as 1,4 dioxane and PFC’s (perfluorinated carbons) have been found in numerous landfill leachates and are of concern to many POTWs and States are starting to regulate 1,4 dioxane and PFCs to low parts per trillion (ng/l). These compounds cannot be treated at POTWs and in the near future may require advanced treatment at the landfill. Also older, unlined landfills and Superfund sites are also starting to determine if these 2 emerging contaminates are in existing groundwater plumes at landfills. Many states have mandated corrective action for 1,4 dioxane but not for PFCs at this time.
Also, another big expense at landfills is closure and post-closure care (PCC) costs. In the last 25 years, most landfills have to set aside funds to monitor and maintain landfills for 30+ years after final closure (i.e., after the cover system has been certified by the State). The Director of the State, Indian Tribe, or Federal authority can reduce or increase the length of post-closure care. However, not regulatory guidance is provided on how to determine if the PCC period can be terminated.
In addition to landfill consultants, Lee Enterprises Consulting (LEC) offers a wide range of services in biofuels, biochemicals, biotechnologies, biomaterials, synthetic biology commercialization, feedstocks, and hemp/cannabis. The company has business and financial services like due diligence, feedstock availability, grants and loans, and bio market research. The company also offers technical and engineering-related services like techno-economic analysis, environmental evaluations, feasibility studies, risk analysis, and expert witness engagements. The company also has strategic partnerships in place to assist clients with insurance, legal, accounting, plant fabrication, feedstock procurement. With over 150 experts worldwide, Lee Enterprises Consulting also has experts in anaerobic digestion, fermentation, biomass, conversion technologies for things like tires and railroad ties, organic synthesis, fuel additives, ethanol gas, biodiesel fuel including algae biofuels, solid-state and industrial fermentation, green energy grants, ag-biotech, agricultural waste, alcohol fuels, alternative proteins and animal-free products, sustainable foods, beverage fermentation, biocatalysis, biodiesel conversion, biogas production, biomass power, carbon intensity, co2 utilization, combined heat & power, Fischer-Tropsch technology, food waste, hydrothermal carbonization, industrial enzymes, landfill management, microbial fermentation, organic synthesis, plastic pyrolysis, plastic recycling, plastic waste, pyrolysis oil, reactor design, renewable identification number, the Renewable Fuel Standard (rfs2), solid recovered fuels, torrefaction and torrefied biomass, waste to energy, and waste-to-hydrogen. This is a multidisciplinary group of green energy consultants that is a virtual “one-stop-shop” for any client need and handles projects of all types and sizes.
Look at our 150+ experts and the services we provide. Most of our experts are also available to advise and serve as expert witnesses in bioeconomy litigation matters. For the larger projects, we specialize in putting together full-service, interdisciplinary teams with one point of contact. See a video about LEC here. Call us at 1+ (501) 833-8511 or email us for more information.