Trash, diapers and the envrionment

Trash, diapers and the envrionment - The first section on...

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View Full Document Right Arrow Icon Energy & Waste - Landfilling YESTERDAY AND TODAY For hundreds of years, people have used garbage dumps to get rid of their trash. Yesterday’s garbage dump was nothing more than a pit or field just outside of town where people left their garbage. People tossed all sorts of waste into these dumps. The dumps were breeding grounds for disease- carrying pests such as flies, mosquitoes, and rats. Rainwater flushed filthy, and sometimes poisonous, liquids from the dump into nearby streams and groundwater supplies that people used for drinking, bathing, and clothes washing. Later, some towns spread dirt to contain the dumped waste and to discourage vermin. This helped, but it was little more than a cover-up for unsanitary dumping. Today, we still bury our garbage, although not in the open dumps of yesterday. About 55 percent of our garbage is hauled off in garbage trucks and packed into sanitary landfills—making landfilling America’s number one way of getting rid of its trash. (The other 45 percent is either recycled or burned.) Although the nation as a whole has plenty of space to build landfills, some areas in the Northeast may be running out of room for new landfills. Obtaining permits to build new landfills has 1 The first section on trash is from an educational web page—it’s an easy, fast
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become increasingly difficult because of public opposition—people don’t want landfills built in their backyards. And besides, a new landfill costs up to $10 million to build. That’s why some communities are looking for new ways to deal with solid waste—recycling and burning, for instance. But there will always be a need for landfills. Why? Because not all waste can be recycled or burned. How do you recycle a broken light bulb, and why burn it if it doesn’t provide any heat energy? Landfill burial is the only feasible way to dispose of some types of waste, and sometimes it’s the safest way, too. Generally, the best disposal method for hazardous wastes—batteries, paints, pesticides, and the like—are state-of-the-art landfills. These landfills are designed to prevent hazardous wastes from seeping into underground water supplies. Now that open dumping is illegal, deciding where to put a landfill requires careful planning. Skilled engineers inspect potential landfill sites. They look at a number of things including: t   the geology of the area   the nature of the local   environment 2   how easy the site is to  reach K   how far the site is from   the area that generates the  waste.   Work on a landfill site begins only after the site passes strict legal, environmental, and engineering tests. It is not a quick procedure; landfills can take five years to complete.
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This note was uploaded on 11/30/2009 for the course ENGINEER 367 taught by Professor Minor during the Spring '09 term at Ohio State.

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Trash, diapers and the envrionment - The first section on...

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