Saturday, January 22, 2022

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Landfill History and Background


Lycoming County Resource Management Services, a Division of Lycoming County Government, operates the Lycoming County Landfill. The site is located on property owned by the Federal Bureau of Prisons approximately 9.5 miles South of Williamsport, PA on Route 15 and is adjacent to the Allenwood Federal Prison Complex. A total of 179.9 acres have been permitted to Lycoming County who has been developing the landfill site since 1973. This Regional site serves Lycoming County as well as Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Columbia and Union Counties. The service area is approximately 3,000 square miles and has a population of 325,000. The Resource Management Services staff consists of 70 full-time and 3 part-time personnel with an operating budget of over $19 million.

A DEP study showed that there were 275 operating landfills in 1987 throughout the Commonwealth. Today, there are 51 permitted landfills. In 1988, the Governor signed into law ACT 101, which requires each county in the Commonwealth to complete a 10-year Solid Waste Plan. Originally, to protect the investment by Lycoming County, and to better plan for future Solid Waste needs, more than 100 contracts with municipalities, counties, and transfer stations were signed to ensure that the disposal of Solid Waste had been planned for a 10-year period. Since Lycoming County completed an update to the Solid Waste Plan December 11, 2001 it was determined that open market participation was in its best interests and the exclusive contracts from the municipalities to direct waste to the facility were replaced with non-exclusive contracts with the 5 counties that form our service area; Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Columbia and Union Counties.

The Lycoming County Landfill opened in June of 1978 and received 16,689 tons of MSW (municipal solid waste) in all of 1978. Our average daily tonnage is approximately 1,100 tons/day. Our permitted daily average is 1,600 tons/day with a maximum of 2,000 tons per day.

At the present time 57 acres of the 88 that are permitted for waste disposal are filled or in the process of being filled. This represents fields 1 through 10. Construction of Field 10 was completed in the spring of 2003. Fields 1, 2, and 3, have a single 20 mil PVC liner. Field 4 has a single 30 mil PVC liner while Field 5 has a 30 mil and a 50 mil PVC liner. Fields 6 - 10 have the latest design of two 100-mil HDPE liners as part of the "Liner System" that protects the groundwater. There are 22 monitoring points (wells, under drains, leachate lagoons, and detection zones) around the Landfill's perimeter that are monitored every three months; the test results are then sent to DEP. The identified contiguous landowners' water supplies are also tested upon request.

Leachate is the liquid that percolates down through the garbage. At this time the leachate is collected in a double-lined lagoon and pumped to the Montgomery sewage treatment plant.

Landfill Gas (LFG) is produced as garbage decomposes. This gas is approximately 50% Methane and 50% CO2, with some trace impurities. Although LFG has only 1/2 the BTU value of natural gas, it is still considered a valuable resource. At the present time Fields 1 - 8 are producing roughly 2800 CFM of landfill gas. When our leachate begins to be re-circulated, the quantity as well as the quality of our LFG will be enhanced. LFG will continue to be produced for as long as 20 to 25 years after a field is closed. We began collecting and flaring our landfill gas in November of 1988. The flaring helps to eliminate the odor problem inherent to any land filling operation. In November of 1993, our Co-Generation plant began production. This converts approximately 25% of the LFG being produced into electricity that is sold to PPL. The Megawatt (1000KW) of electricity being produced is enough to power approximately 1000 homes.

Next to garbage, Dirt and Shale are the most important commodities at any landfill. We currently use crushed rock and shale to make roads for the haulers to get to the dumping areas. We also cover portions of the working face with crushed stone to enable the haulers to maneuver and discharge their loads without becoming stuck in the loose garbage. Approximately 40% of the equipment and manpower at the landfill is used to excavate, move, or process dirt and shale. Since a DEP regulation requires that no stones larger than 6" can be used in daily cover, a large crusher operation is used to process the dirt and shale. At the end of each day at least 6" of processed dirt, posi-shell which is an alternative daily cover or tarps are deployed on top of the exposed garbage to help keep the animals out and the odors in. The purchase of the Feaster and Callenberger Farms should make our on-site dirt last until the Landfill is closed. The current life of the remaining acreage of the landfill has been estimated to last until April 2012 based on the current land filling technologies of using alternative cover technologies (tarps, posi-shell and industry waste that qualifies as a cover) and our two 50+ ton Compactors. The RMS Staff is currently researching ways to extend the usable life by exploring the use of large scale Anaerobic Digestion System.

The Lycoming County Resource Management Services staff is now responsible for the comprehensive County-Wide Recycling Program. This includes the Curbside Collection of clear, brown, and green glass, aluminum, and steel/tin cans in 13 municipalities, as well as the collection of clear glass, brown glass, green glass, tin cans, and aluminum from 27 drop-off sites throughout Lycoming County. Three types of plastics are collected at the 9 major sites. In the fall of 1993, we began the collection of Newsprint and Magazines at 5 sites throughout the County. Cardboard was added in 1995. We also provide recycling through drop off sites for Snyder, Union and part of Northumberland County.  Resource Management Services operates a large processing center and ships recycled products directly to the various markets to obtain the best pricing.

All aspects of Landfill operations, monitoring, and supervision are controlled by Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) from the initial design of our Landfill to a time that may be 25 to 30 years after the Landfill is officially closed and material can no longer be deposited. Act 97 Chapter 75, created DEP in 1970, to consolidate into a single state agency Pennsylvania's programs for protecting and enhancing the environment. The staff of the Lycoming County Resource Management Services agrees with DEP's mission to "ensure the wise use of Pennsylvania's natural resources; protect and restore the natural environment, and protect the public health and safety of all Pennsylvanians."

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