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[greenyes] FW: [GreenYes] Heat from organic decomposition in landfills
Hi Linda -

I'm no expert, but Mass DEP's Sumner Martinson did some digging (no pun
intended) for you ... read on.

Amy Bauman

-----Original Message-----
From: Martinson, Sumner (DEP) [mailto:Sumner.Martinson@no.address]
Sent: Thursday, October 02, 2003 12:56 PM
To: Amy Bauman
Subject: RE: [GreenYes] Heat from organic decomposition in landfills


I have asked around DEP for answers to your questions about heat generated
in landfills from anaerobic decomposition.  I haven't found anyone that has
researched or looked at anaerobic decomposition from that perspective.
Since anaerobic decomposition takes place with little or no oxygen, the heat
generation is generally fairly low, in the 60-100 degree range.  Aerobic
decomposition, has a range up to 165 degrees or more.  Neither of these
temperatures are high enough to melt hard or film plastic, but will soften
or bend them.  I wouldn't expect toxins would be released, but in
conjunction with acids and other compounds in a landfill environment, there
could be some interaction.  It's possible that the EPA has done some
research on this subject, but that's only a guess.  Sorry I couldn't provide
a better answer.  I will forward you an article on some compounds of concern
from plastics, mostly from fire retardants.  There is also an issue with
thalates.  I'll pass that along when I get it......S.

Sumner Martinson
Director, Composting Program
Mass. Dept. of  Environmental Protection
1 Winter St. 10th fl.
Boston, MA 02108
Voice(617) 292-5969
Fax  (617) 292 5778
Mail to: sumner.martinson@no.address

-----Original Message-----
From: Linda [mailto:linda@no.address]
Sent: Friday, September 26, 2003 3:51 PM
To: greenyes@no.address
Subject: [GreenYes] Heat from organic decomposition in landfills

Hello. I've been told that the anaerobic decomposition of organics in a
landfill produces heat and temperatures high enough to melt plastic
which then contributes to the toxicity of the leachate.

Can anyone answer a few questions for me?
1.	Does anyone know what kind of temperatures we're talking about
2.	What kind of plastic is melted at this temperature? PET bottles
and produce bags or computer housings and Big Wheels?
3.	What kinds of toxins result from this melting?

I appreciate your help.

Linda Smith
Community Outreach Director

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