Providing Safe Landfill Disposal
Even though Lincoln recycled 35% of its municipal solid waste in 1996, a large percentage must continue to be disposed of in the City's Bluff Road Landfill. Lincoln's landfill is designed and operated in a manner to protect the environment and public health of Lancaster County residents. These protection systems include:
Liner & Leachate Collection
The composite liner in Lincoln's landfill is a layer of re-compacted clay two feet thick covered by a high density polyethylene (plastic) liner. Each material has distinct properties for protecting against seepage and resisting damage for long periods of time. Similar to a plastic bag holding water, the liner prevents contaminated liquid called leachate, a byproduct of the solid waste, from entering the surrounding soils or ground water. Above the composite liner is a layer of gravel that allows the leachate to flow across the liner to collection pipes which carry the leachate to storage tanks. Once collected the leachate is taken to the wastewater treatment plant where it is treated.
Ground Water Monitoring
Ground water monitoring wells are placed around the perimeter of the landfill, particularly downstream in the direction of the natural ground water flow. These wells are tested regularly to confirm that no leakage is present. Observation wells called piezometers are also located around the landfill to monitor water levels and determine the direction of ground water flow.
Landfill Gas Monitoring
Landfill gas is another by product from the decomposition of solid waste in the landfill. Methane and carbon dioxide are the two primary types of gases present in landfill gas. Since methane gas is explosive, it cannot be allowed to migrate to surrounding soils. Therefore, wells are constructed around the perimeter of the landfill to confirm that methane gas is not migrating.
Daily & Intermediate Soil Cover
Each day the solid waste is covered with soil to reduce rainfall from seeping into the waste, prevent fires, control odors and prevent blowing litter. Additional intermediate soil is added in areas which are exposed for longer periods. These areas are then seeded for erosion control.
Final Cover Cap
A final cover cap will be placed over the landfill in areas where landfilling of waste has been completed. The cover will be similar to the bottom liner and serves as a cap to reduce rainfall from entering the landfill. The final cover will be planted with various grasses to prevent erosion, promote water use and encourage wildlife habitat. Final use as wildlife habitat and open grass land works well for the necessary continued monitoring of the landfill.
This occurs when the landfill reaches capacity and the remainder of the final cover cap is installed. The City of Lincoln will maintain and monitor the site for a minimum of 60 years. This will ensure that the environmental protection systems continue to function and that the site remains safe to the environment and public health.
Hazardous Waste Exclusion
The Bluff Road Landfill uses a hazardous waste exclusion program that includes procedures such as load inspections to prevent the disposal of hazardous waste. A special Waste Permitting Program is used to educate and inform business and industrial waste generators of items that are hazardous and how to dispose of them properly.