Monday, March 21, 2011

Landfill Soil

Good soil is one of the most important factor of many things, especially farming, but not many people know that soil also plays a big part in landfills. Each day, the landfill is covered with a layer of soil to help aid in decomposition (Bansal, K.M. and Sugiarto). This soil is usually transported to the landfill daily from an outside source since it takes a very long time for soil to appear. The texture, wetness, and slope affect the ability to spread the soil over the landfill during different seasons. The best type of soil to use over a landfill has less stones and gravel mixed in then others. These are more difficult to spread over the area. All of the soil used should be suitable for plants even though it is simply covering waste (

Not only is the soil highly necessary for a landfill, it is also very expensive and takes up just as much space as the garbage itself. The soil is more frequently exposed to pollution in a landfill as well, the soil chemicals change dramatically. This is imaginable from the constant flow of toxins that leak into the soil and ground water (K. Jeevan Rao and M.V. Shantaram). This make its all the more fascinating when thinking about the new found ability to restore a landfill, since as mentioned before, good soil is cruticial to the ability to grow crops. The chemicals in the soil is what helps break down the waste, although it is an extremely slow process.

Bansal, K.M., and Sugiarto, 1999, "Exploration and Production Operations – Waste Management A Comparative Overview: US and Indonesia Cases," SPE54345, SPE Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Conference, Jakarta, Indonesia, April 20-22.

Sanitary Facilities, Sanitary Landfills.

K. Jeevan Rao
and M.V. Shantaram, Soil and Water Pollution Due to Open Landfills. 12/3/2005.

Landfill Restoration

When thinking of the years of garbage that is dumped into a landfill, it is almost impossible to imagine that anything good can come from it if it were ever closed. Although it is hard to imagine, it is possible. Proof of this was found after the Fresh Kills landfill was closed down in Staten Island. This was one of the largest landfills in the United States that dumped 29,000 tons of trash a day in it. When it was closed, they attempted to turn it into a nature preserve. Now there is grass and wildflowers growing over what used to be bags of garbage. Also, instead of mice and other rodents roaming the area, it is now being occupied frequently by red tail hawks and white tail deer (Kimbrell, Nick). Although this seems easy, it hasnt always been this way. Past studies have shown concern that the roots of the trees were not growing deep enough in the soil, causing a leak of landfill gases. They found that if mineral caps are used, restoration can be done safely (

Kimbrell, Nick, Can A Landfill Site Ever Return To Nature?. 7/6/10.

Restoring landfill into green space such as woodland and parkland is viable, says report. 1997-2011.