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[greenyes] Decomposition in Landfills

The interchange about decomposition in landfills misses THE major issue.

That is the point in time when the final cover, which is installed on
top of the landfill upon closure, will, according to EPA, "eventually fail."
When it does, most likely between 10 and 20 years after the end of the 30
year post-closure period, rainfall and snow melt will reenter the site,
reigniting a second wave of decomposition with its new loads, now
uncontrolled, of leachate and gas generation.

Until that happens, Rathje et al. have a point about the absence of
water causing decomposition to slow down in regions of the waste load where
liquids entrained in the incoming waste had not concentrated or pooled or
where lignin is present. But, that statement by itself, without
acknowledgement about the impending failure of the cap, constitutes a major
distortion of the facts necessary to understand the processes involved.

This is the reason why the current generation of landfills are widely
considered to be fatally flawed. Thus, the fact that recycling has not, in
general, been able to compete against $20/ton landfills does not imply that
diversion not making economic sense. Rather it reflects the fact that
regulatory process has been subverted to avoid necessary safety measures for
the sole purpose of keeping disposal appearing to look like it has been less
costly than recovery.

It is not.

Peter Anderson
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705
Ph: (608) 231-1100
Fax: (608) 233-0011
Cell (608) 438-9062
email: anderson@no.address

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