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 conventional techniques are significantly flawed. High implementation costs combined with a questionable long-term track record means that ***** landfill 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 promis*****g new landfill ***** being developed is called the evapotranspiration, which harnesses rather than fights natural hydrologic cycles. It can be concluded that ***** technique, as well ***** some other alterative methods, has the real potential to become a viable ***** to the conventional landfill covers that are showing their age.

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


Clearly, the issue of waste management in the United States and the world is a signific*****nt one. Waste cont*****ues ***** pile higher every year, and *****s are 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 ra*****r conventional techniques. Usually, a ***** is lined with compacted clay before even one piece of garbage is dumped there. Then, when the l*****fill has been filled to *****, the entire site ***** covered over. The purpose ***** all of this engineering is simple: reduce the environmental damage and impact of ***** site by lessening the degree ***** which pollutants and contaminants can leach from ***** site through the introduction of either groundwater or rain. ***** covers can be ***** or complex, but ***** designed with individual sites in mind to control moisture, percolation, promote runoff, minimize erosion, and meet aesthetic demands (EPA 1). ***** ***** words, ***** 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 ***** membranes can tear. Over time, th***** means that conventional landfill techniques are incapable of providing anywhere close to 100% 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. Clean***** costs for contaminated landfill *****s in ***** United States are already amount to several billion dollars (Dwyer, "F*****ding" 58). These costs can only be expected to rise unless better cover ***** ***** be devised ***** **********.

Alternative systems have ***** ***** in an effort to provide better long-term functionality *****ten at a fr*****ction of the cost. ***** alternative landfill ***** methods generally eschew efforts to ***** absolute *****, recognizing the absurdity of ***** a go*****l. Instead, these alternative systems are ***** to work on a site-specific basis with the local envir*****mental *****. Contamination of the ***** environment is reduced or


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