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 ***** covers ***** less than ideal. This author's review of the literature unear*****d significant studies that demonstrate potential solutions to this issue in the form of alternative landfill covers. One of the most promising new landfill ***** 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, h***** the real potential to become a viable ***** to ***** conventional landfill covers that are showing their age.

***** alternative, landfill, *****, evapotranspiration, pollution, reclamation


*****, the issue ***** waste management in the United States and the world is a significant one. ***** cont*****ues to pile higher every year, and *****s ***** filling up faster than ever (Albright et al. 71). When a l*****fill reaches its designated capacity, it is sealed and covered. In the past, th***** has meant the use of ra*****r ***** techniques. Usually, a landfill is lined with compacted clay before even one piece of garbage is dumped there. Then, when the landfill ***** been filled to *****, the entire site is covered over. The purpose of all of this engineering is simple: reduce the environmental damage and impact ***** ***** ***** by lessening the degree to which pollutants and contaminants can leach from the 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 ***** covers ***** 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 ***** membranes can tear. Over time, this 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 the surrounding environmental system, especially via soil conditions and the local water table. Cleanup costs for contaminated landfill *****s in the United States are already amount to several billion dollars (Dwyer, "F*****ding" 58). ********** costs can only ***** expected to rise unless better cover ***** ***** be devised for **********.

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


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