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For a comprehensive report on financial assurance at MSW landfills, I am
looking for statements made in any contexts by state regulators that
recognize the fatal flaws in our current "dry tomb" design standards due to
the fact that the liners will eventually fail, thereby only postponing,
rather than preventing, pollution.

As an example, Washington state said in its Beyond Waste background
The extent to which today's landfills adequately protect human health and
the environment is a subject of debate, however. Requirements that govern
siting, operation, closure, and post-closure are stringent and extensive.
While the newest landfills are state-of-the-art facilities, they are far
from benign in their impacts. Landfills may still affect the air, land, and
water but to a significantly lesser degree than before today's standards
went into effect. As waste decomposes in landfills, methane and other
hazardous gases are generated. Methane is a greenhouse gas concern because
its impact is twenty-three times that of carbon dioxide (EIA). Leachate from
decomposing matter in landfills can contain hazardous constituents. If
landfill liners and/or leachate collections systems fail, then groundwater
and surface-water pollution can occur. No liners are engineered to be 100
percent impenetrable or to last forever without some sort of failure. In
fact, US EPA officials have stated that problems can occur more than thirty
years after closure of a landfill, pointing out that "even the best liner
and leachate collection system will ultimately fail due to natural
deterioration" (EPA, p. 32).

Peter Anderson, President
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705-4964
Ph: (608) 231-1100
Fax: (608) 233-0011
Cell: (608) 698-1314
eMail: anderson@no.address

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