|Jungo landfill concept outlined|
|Tuesday, January 19 2010 00:00|
Representatives of Golder Associates and Recology gave technical presentations to the Humboldt Development Authority on Tuesday (Jan. 12). The presentations included a semi-technical outline as well as a conceptual design for the proposed Jungo Rd. landfill.
Representing Golder was the project engineer, Ken Haskell, and representing Recology was Erin Merrill, the project manager. Golder Associates was founded in Canada in 1960 and has grown to have offices throughout the world. In addition to waste management, the company also engineered projects for the oil/gas industry, mining, and transportation. Golder is an engineering firm contracted by Recology to design and construct the facility, should it receive permitting.
Merrill attempted to address concerns the community has previously voiced about the kind of materials that would likely go into facility. However, the information was general in nature because Recology will not be able to bid on specific waste removal contracts until the appropriate permits are obtained.
In response to a question from the audience, Merrill said the asbestos would be buried in the bags – or appropriate container -- it came in. Procedures and regulations require asbestos and asbestos-containing materials to be doubled-bagged and securely closed. Asbestos is a “special waste” and is transported separately from the general waste stream, she noted.
3. Longer-term coverage materials typically include a foot or so of soil moistened by fresh water combined with untreated "leachate," a fluid collected from the bottom of the lined facility through a system of sump pumps and pipes. When asked if the leachate was treated, Haskell replied in the negative and said, “I work at a lot of different sites, and I don’t know of anyone treating leachate within the footprint of a lined landfill.”
4. Waste from San Francisco -- where heavy recycling "diverts" all but the vilest garbage dregs -- would not flow into the Jungo "waste stream," Merrill reiterated. Instead, Jungo's stream would likely be representative of California's typical waste stream, she suggested. She showed a pie chart (see below) from the 2008 Waste Characterization Study, prepared for the California Integrated Waste Management Board. The study reportedly found that a mere 0.3 percent could be deemed "hazardous" (see the HHW, or "household hazardous waste" sector below). Meanwhile, just under four percent percent fell into the "special waste" category comprised of asbestos, sewage sludge, and other materials that are delivered separately, and receive special handling.
Haskell said the ground beneath the dump would be graded into a basin and range topography, and lined with HDPE. It would be piped to collect leachate. A second pipe network would collect methane and other gases. In arid climes like Nevada, preventing gasses from carrying volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the soil is actually a more significant problem than leachate leaks, he said. By creating a vacuum in the pipes, the facility could catch such gases, and even use them for energy production, he said.
Below this two-ply liner, a compacted layer of organic clay liner should help slow soil infiltration indefinitely (barring cracking from earth movements). Above the liner, a layer of crushed gravel provides drainage for the fluid and gas collections systems. Above that, yet another "geotextile" filter of polypropylene helps keep out materials that could clog the collection pipes, Haskell said. Finally, the topmost layer of the liner system comprises two feet of regular old soil, there to deter physical stress on the filter and liner system by heavy equipment and refuse (which undergoes regular compaction).
Haskell said that Golder carefully tests its liners for faults, prior to commencing landfill operation. One such "quality assurance" method involves measuring the ground's electrical potential, using a device invented by Golder Associates engineers, Haskell said.
Following the site's expected 95-year working life, the topmost surface, or "cover system," becomes the critical barrier, according to Haskell. "And that system is accessible, and can be maintained indefinitely," he said.
Risks to the Water Table
Haskell went on to describe his view of the hydro-geology beneath the proposed site. He suggested that groundwater beneath the site moves northward, toward the Black Rock Desert. Thus, he suggested that any groundwater contamination would not likely affect nearby Rye Patch Reservoir, nor the table from which nearby Winnemucca draws its water. He also pointed out that not contaminating the groundwater would be a necessary permit condition for operation of the site.
Throughout the talks by both Merrill and Haskell, audience participation was vigorous. After two and a half hours of discussion, the meeting was concluded, due to a Little League Basketball referee committment by one of the Development Authority board members.
Haskell's presentation included a wealth of fascinating technical drawings and maps. Most were previously published on the Jungo Land website. He said he hoped to add his presentation in its entirety, "within a week." The website is located here.
In other news related to the landfill, local lawyers Robert Dolan and Massey Mayo, of Dolan Law Offices, will have their day in court on May 5. The two have filed a complaint against the Humboldt County Commissioners, for action taken in connection with the landfill. That story can be found here.