- Winston-Salem, NC is preparing to extend the life of Hanes Mill Road landfill by building a new $4.7 million cell, utilizing several efficient filling methods, and installing a GPS landfill management system to track waste placement and the degree that it is compacted.
- The Winston-Salem and Forsyth County Utilities Division projects these measures will allow the landfill to remain operational for 20 more years, as reported in the Winston-Salem Journal. When the new cell is filled around 2023, another cell will be constructed.
- The landfill, which converts greenhouse gas to electricity for utilities, received 233,786 tons of trash in 2014-15.
The US Environmental Protection Agency reports that the number of municipal solid waste landfills has declined from about 8,000 in 1988 to 1,908 in 2013. Therefore some municipalities are investing to preserve the remaining sites for as long as they can.
"We view the landfill as an asset to the community, so we’re trying to be as responsible as possible in the way we administer it and trying to make it last long and be efficient," said Jan McHargue, solid waste administrator for the city and county, as reported in the Winston-Salem Journal.
The municipality has actually worked to maximize their resources and the landfill’s footprint for years, expanding to a new 90-acre space in 2005. The new cell will soon begin filling up on 15 acres of that land. Additional investments include an 18-inch clay liner, a geosynthetic clay liner, a high-density plastic liner, a drainage layer, and a runoff diversion system.
These investments have come with benefits such as the ability to increase the density of waste using the GPS data to determine how to compact it—a technology that appears to be paying off. The landfill has upped its waste density from 1,160 pounds per cubic yard last year to 1,380 pounds per cubic yard this year.
Still, landfills don’t last forever, so the city and county are looking ahead to determine the next move, whether it be to secure a new site in the county, share resources with a neighboring county, or perhaps contract with a private landfill owner.
“It’s a decision probably to be made in the next 10 years," said Ron Hargrove, utilities director for Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, as reported in the Winston-Salem Journal.