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The problem with our landfills and pollution

July 29, 2011

The problem with our landfills and pollution

Landfills were supposed to be the answer to our garbage-disposal issues. Over time, however, they have caused as many problems as they appear to have solved. It is estimated that there are over 8,000 fires at landfills across the United States each year? How are these fires started? Heat from decaying garbage can become hot enough to ignite gas below the surface and cause fires that burn under or above ground for miles.

Gas from decaying garbage is a major issue. If the conditions are right, A single ton of garbage can produce up to 500 cubic yards of gas. All landfills produce potentially explosive emissions. In modern landfills, the gas is channelled away by PVC pipe and burned off, or perhaps used as an alternative energy source. But when landfills first began appearing, back in the 60’s, many of the safety measures in place today were not considered. There could be up to 10,000 landfills in the United States alone that have zero safety measures in place.

Another major problem with older landfills is the pollution of groundwater. As organic garbage decomposes, the bacteria created leech into the soils and eventually—with the help of rainwater—find their way into the groundwater system. Heavy metals, oil, gasoline and solvents can also leak into these precious water supplies. Many cities and communities in North America rely on groundwater alone for their drinking water, so the repercussions of having this supply contaminated by decaying landfill refuse are serious.

We have become much more aware of the potential environmental issues of landfills here at home. By utilizing PVC pipelines to channel waste gases and liquids safely away from landfill sites and improving landfill design, these garbage-disposal sites have become much safer. But here is still much to be done to make older landfills safe both here and in the developing world—where huge landfills pose a major health risk to local populations.

PVC Plus Drilling are a leading supplier of PVC pipe, fittings and drilling-related products that are utilized for a range of applications including groundwater sampling and testing, and pipeline constructions for landfills.

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