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 examination 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 questionable long-term track record means that conventional landfill covers ***** less than ideal. This author's review of the literature unearthed significant studies ***** demonstrate potential solutions to this issue in the form of alternative ***** covers. One of the most promising new landfill covers being developed is called the evapotranspiration, which harnesses rather ***** fights natural hydrologic cycles. It can be concluded that ***** technique, as well as some other alterative methods, has the real potential to become a viable ***** to the conventional landfill covers that are showing their age.

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


*****, the issue ***** waste management in the United States and the world is a signific*****nt one. ***** cont*****ues to pile higher every year, ***** *****s ***** filling up faster than ever (Albright et al. 71). When a landfill reaches its designated capacity, it is sealed and covered. In the past, th***** has meant the use of rather conventional techniques. Usually, a landfill is lined with compacted clay before even one piece of garbage is dumped there. Then, when the landfill has been filled to capacity, the entire site is covered over. The purpose of all ***** this engineering is simple: reduce ***** environmental damage and impact of the site by lessening ***** degree to which pollutants and contaminants can leach from the site through ***** introduction of either groundwater or rain. Landfill covers can be simple ***** complex, but are designed with individual sites in mind to control moisture, percolation, promote runoff, minimize erosion, and meet aesthetic demands (EPA 1). ***** other words, conventional ***** 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 practice. Conventional containment techniques, such as compacted clay layers or geotextile membranes, have the tendency to be breached. Clay will crack and membranes ***** tear. Over time, th***** means that conventional landfill techniques are incapable of providing anywhere close to *****00% isolation of the landfill from the environment. The end-result is contamination of ***** surrounding environmental *****, especially via soil conditions and the local water table. Cleanup costs for contaminated landfill ***** in the United States are already amount to several billion dollars (Dwyer, "F*****ding" 58). These costs can only be expected to rise unless better cover methods ***** be devised ***** landfills.

Alternative systems have been ***** in an effort ***** provide better long-term functionality *****ten at a fraction of the cost. ***** alternative landfill cover methods generally eschew ********** to ***** absolute containment, recognizing the absurdity ***** such a goal. Instead, these alternative systems ***** ***** to work on a site-specific basis ***** the local environmental conditions. Contamination of the ***** environment is reduced or


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