Waste Not in Wisconsin

by David A. Rudig, P.E., (M.ASCE), Principal Engineer, Environmental Services Group; HNTB Corp., Milwaukee, WI,


Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1996, Vol. 66, Issue 6, Pg. 68-70


Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: Nationwide, local public works departments wrestle with the problem and costs of cleaning up abandoned landfill sites. Often, municipalities acquire property through tax foreclosures or dedication, usually resulting in the inheriting of environmentally impaired land. In other cases cities themselves have created unclassified landfill sites on city-owned properties prior to the existence of any regulatory laws that would have prohibited or restricted such activity. Construction of new facilities on, or within, masses of abandoned, unclassified municipal landfills has been precluded by state regulatory agencies due to public health risk concerns about potentially explosive methane gas migrating from the landfill into buildings. In Milwaukee, a 26 acre environmentally impaired urban property that was formerly a municipal landfill site has now been converted into a useful complex for handling the city's municipal solid waste at a considerable tax savings. For this project, HNTB Corp., Milwaukee, engineered a methane containment liner system to isolate the buildings, along with the cap and cover of the surrounding landfill ash using geomembranes. The design avoided both the cost to import clay borrow cover and any need to dispose excavated landfill material off site. The project included the construction of a new 33,000 sq ft, 1,500 ton/day capacity transfer station concurrent with the remedial site work.

Subject Headings: Urban areas | Landfills | Municipal wastes | Municipal engineering | Methane | Liners

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