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Solid Waste Management

Neil Hutzler
Spring 2004
Sources of Solid Wastes
in the United States
• Mining wastes (3 billion tons per year)
• Agricultural wastes (500 million tons/yr)
• Industrial wastes (400 million tons/yr)
• Municipal solid waste (210 million tons/yr)
– About 4.5 lb/person/day
• Sewage sludge (40 million tons/yr)
Source: USEPA
Source of Solid Wastes
• Mining waste consist mainly of rock and soil
overburden from mining operations – an earth
moving project
• Agricultural wastes are typically organic
residuals – biodegradable and recyclable
• Industrial wastes are widely varied – have the
potential of being hazardous
• Municipal solid wastes (MSW) vary greatly in
quantity and composition
• We will focus on the management of MSW
Composition of Solid Wastes
• Garbage (food rejects, organic wastes)
Rubbish (nonputresible wastes)
– Combustables (paper,plastic, wood, etc.)
– Noncombustables (metal, glass, dirt, etc.)
• Yard wastes
• Other materials (almost anything can be
found in MSW)
• Water (about 15 to 20% of MSW is water)
Composition of MSW

Source: USEPA
Other Solid Waste
• Discarded appliances, furniture, cars, etc.
• Street sweepings and liter
• Construction and demolition debris
• Dead animals
• Hazardous wastes from homes and industry
• Sludge from water and wastewater treatment
• Conclusion: the solid waste management
engineer must be prepared to deal with a wide
variety of materials
Municipal Solid Waste
Management System

• On-site Storage
• Collection
• Transport and transfer
• Processing
• Disposal
• Responsibility of the generator of solid
• Cans
• Bags (sale can support cost of collection)
• Bins or dumpsters
• Compactors
• Waste separation of recyclables
MSW Collection
• Type of collection service
– Self
– Curbside pickup (most common)
– Set out, set back
– Backyard (most expensive)
• Frequency of collection
– Daily (large generators)
– Once per week (most common in northern states)
– Twice per week (most common in southern states)
– On demand (discards, special wastes)
– Less frequent for recyclables
• Crew size (1 to 3 for curbside pick up, more for others)
Types of Collection Vehicles
• Packer trucks (to increase density of MSW and
mass of collection, compacted density ~900
– Rear loading
– Side loading
– Front loading
– Manual loading
– Mechanical loading
– Chassis specified by volume (e.g., 20 yd3)
• Roll-off trucks (container left at site)
• Truck for collection of recyclables
Source: USEPA
Source: USEPA
MSW Collection
• Collection Route Design
– Macro routing
– Districting
– Micro routing
Recycling Street Sweeping
Refuse Green Waste
(Every other) (Once a month)

Monday Monday Thursday

1 Friday

Tuesday Tuesday Friday

2 Monday

Wednesday Wednesday Monday

3 Tuesday

Thursday Thursday Tuesday

4 Wednesday

Friday Friday Wednesday

5 Thursday

Special Schedules to be Provided

Special Schedules to be Provided

Source: City of Sacramento, CA

Truck Routing
• Daily route method
– A daily route is collected, workers work until entire
route is collecte
• Large route method
– A weekly route is established, up to workers to
determine route
• Single load method
– Collect until truck is full
• Definite working day method
– Work 8 hour and then quit
Routing Hueristics -- examples
• Do not fragment routes, keep in same area
• Collection time plus haul time should be about
equal for each route
• Start collecting as close to the municipal garage
as possible to cut down travel time
• Do not collect heavily traveled streets during
rush hours
• Start routes at higher elevations
• Make right turns as much as possible
Solid Waste- Truck Routing
Example - Routing

• In cases where the processing and disposal
sites are near the collection area, the collection
vehicle also hauls the full load to the site. Need
to balance size to minimize number of hauls
versus maneuverability needed for collection
• As distances increase the solid waste engineer
should consider transferring the waste to a
larger vehicle (e.g., semi trailer, rail car, barge)
Solid Waste Processing
• Objectives of Processing include
– Volume reduction (baling, shredding,
incineration (also reduces mass)
– Size reduction (shredding, grinding)
– Component separation (hand sorting,
screening, magnetic separation, air
– Resource recovery (composting, energy
recovery, materials recovery)
Solid Waste Disposal
• No matter what processing is done, there
will be some residue that needs to be
disposed of safely
• Options for disposal
– Modern, engineered landfill
– Modern, engineered landfill
– Modern, engineered landfill
Solid Waste - Sanitary Landfill
Is defined as a land disposal site
employing an engineered method of
disposing of solid wastes on land in a
manner that minimizes environmental
hazards by spreading the solid wastes
to the smallest practical volume, and
applying and compacting cover
material at the end of each day.
Solid Waste - Sanitary Landfill
Site Considerations:
• Public Opinion
• Proximity of major roadways
• Speed Limits
• Load limits on roadways
• Bridge capacities
• Underpass limitations
• Traffic patterns and congestion
• Haul distance (time)
• Detours
• Hydrology
Solid Waste - Sanitary Landfill
Site Considerations:
• Availability of cover material
• Climate (e.g. floods, mud slides, snow)
• Zoning requirements
• Buffer areas around the site (e.g. high trees on
site perimeter)
• Historic buildings, endangered species, wetlands,
and similar environmental factors.
Solid Waste - Sanitary Landfill
Federal Regulations for Landfills:
Subtitle D of the Resource Conservation and
Recovery Act (RCRA), EPA promulgated new
federal regulations for landfills. Among these
regulations are restrictions on distances from
airports, flood plains, and fault areas, as well
as limitations on construction in wetlands and
others such as: 30 meters from stream, 160 m
from drinking water wells, 65 m from houses,
schools and parks, 3,000 m from air port
runways, requires synthetic liner.
Solid Waste - Sanitary Landfill
Solid Waste - Sanitary Landfill
Solid Waste - Sanitary Landfill
Methods of Operation:
Area Method: solid waste is deposited on the
surface, compacted, then covered with a layer
of compacted soil at the end of a working day.
This method is seldom restricted by topography:
flat or rolling terrain, canyons, and other types
of depressions are all acceptable.
Sanitary Landfill - Area Method
Sanitary Landfill - Area Method
Solid Waste - Sanitary Landfill
Methods of Operation:
Trench Method: a trench is excavated and the
solid waste is placed in it and compacted; and
the soil that was taken from the trench is then
laid on the waste and compacted.
This method is used on level or gently sloping
land where the water table is low. The
advantage of this method is that the the soil
taken from the trench can readily be used as
Sanitary Landfill - Trench Method
Solid Waste - Sanitary Landfill
Environmental Considerations:
A well designed and operated landfill will
minimize vectors (carrier of disease), water
and air pollution.
Burning is not permitted in a landfill.
Keeping the waste covered will prevent the
production of flies, control of rodents and
Two other areas of pollution are landfill
gases and leachate.
Solid Waste - Sanitary Landfill
Landfill Gases:
Principal gaseous products emitted from a landfill
(methane and carbon dioxide) are the results of
microbial decomposition. During the early life
of a land fill, the gas is primarily carbon dioxide.
But as it matures, methane is produced in about
equal quantities as carbon dioxide. Methane
has an economic value.
There are also trace quantities of volatile organic
chemicals deposited from industrial wastes that
can be a concern.
Sanitary Landfill - Gas
Component Percent (dry volume basis)

Methane 45-60
Carbon dioxide 40-60
Nitrogen 2-5
Oxygen 0.1-1.0
Sulfides, disulfides, mercaptans, etc. 0-1.0
Ammonia 0.1-1.0
Hydrogen 0-0.2
Carbon monoxide 0-0.2
Trace constituents 0.01-0.06

Characteristics Value

Temperature, oC 35-50
Specific gravity 1.02-1.05
Moisture content Saturated
High heating value, kJ/m3 16,000-20,000
Gas Collection System
• Impermeable cap
• Granular material
• Collection pipes
• Gas treatment
Solid Waste - Sanitary Landfill
Landfill Leachate:
Liquid that passes through the landfill and
that has extracted dissolved and
suspended matter from it is called leachate.
Liquid enters the landfill from external
sources such as rainfall, surface drainage,
groundwater, and the liquid in and
produced from the decomposition of the
Solid Waste - Sanitary Landfill
Value, mg/L
Constituent New landfill (less than 2 yrs) Mature landfill
Range Typical (greater than 10 yrs)
BOD5 2,000-30,000 10,000 100-200
TOC 1,500-20,000 6,000 80-160
COD 3,000-60,000 18,000 100-500
Total suspended solids 200-2,000 500 100-400
Organic nitrogen 10-800 200 80-120
Ammonia nitrogen 10-800 200 20-40
Nitrate 5-40 25 5-10
Total Phosphorus 5-100 30 5-10
Ortho Phosphorus 4-80 20 4-8
Alkalinity as CaCO3 1,000-10,000 3,000 200-1,000
pH 4.5-7.5 6 6.6-7.5
Chloride 200-3,000 500 100-400
Sulfate 50-1,000 300 20-50
Iron 50,1200 60 20-200
Leachate Collection System
• Impermeable liner
• Granular material
• Collection piping
• Leachate storage tank
• Leachate is trucked to a wastewater
treatment facility