Essay - Literature Review Alternative Landfill Covers: Time for Revolution in Waste...

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Literature Review

Alternative Landfill Covers: Time for Revolution in Waste Reclamation


Even a cursory ex*****mination of the existing, recent literature on the subject of landfill covers reveals that c*****ventional techniques are significantly flawed. High implementation costs combined with a question*****ble long-term track record means that conventional landfill covers are less than ideal. This author's review of the literature unear*****d significant studies ***** demonstrate potential solutions to this issue in the form of alternative ***** covers. One of the most promis*****g new landfill covers being developed is called the evapotranspiration, which harnesses rather than fights natural hydrologic cycles. It can be concluded that this technique, as well ***** some other alterative methods, has the real potential to become a viable alternative to the conventional landfill ***** that are showing their age.

Keywords alternative, landfill, covers, *****, pollution, reclamation


Clearly, the issue ***** waste management in the United States and the world is a significant one. ***** continues to pile higher every year, and landfills are filling up faster ***** ever (Albright et al. 71). When a landfill reaches its designated capacity, it is se*****ed and covered. In the past, ***** has meant the use of ra*****r ***** techniques. Usually, a l*****fill is lined with compacted clay before even one piece of garbage is dumped there. Then, when the landfill ***** been filled to capacity, the entire site is covered over. The purpose of all of this engineering is simple: reduce the environmental damage and impact ***** the site by lessening the degree to which pollutants and contaminants can leach from ***** site through the introduction of either groundwater or rain. Landfill covers can be ***** ***** complex, but are designed with individual sites in mind ***** control moisture, percolation, promote runoff, minimize erosion, and meet aesthetic demands (EPA 1). ***** other words, conventional landfill covers are designed to act like enormous box lids over and already-sealed system to isolate the site from the environment.

Unfortunately, this contained ideal is rarely realized in pr*****ice. Conventional containment techniques, such as ***** clay layers or geotextile membranes, have the tendency to be breached. Clay will crack and membranes ***** tear. Over time, this means that conventional landfill techniques are incapable of providing anywhere close to **********% isolation of the landfill from the environment. ***** end-result is contamination of the surrounding environmental *****, especially via soil conditions and the local water table. Clean***** costs for contaminated ***** ***** in the United States are already amount to several billion dollars (Dwyer, "F*****ding" 58). These costs can only be expected to r*****e unless better cover ***** can be devised for landfills.

Alternative systems have been developed in an effort ***** provide better ***** functionality ********** at a fr*****ction of the cost. These alternative landfill cover methods generally eschew *****s to ***** absolute *****, recogniz*****g the absurdity ***** ***** a goal. Instead, *****se ***** systems are ***** to work on a site-specific basis with the local envir*****mental conditions. Contamination of the ***** environment is reduced or


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