Design of a Mechanical Refuse Barrier

by Edward J. Schmeltz, Frederic R. Harris, Inc, San Pedro, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Engineering Practice


In the summer of 1988, beachgoers flocking to the New Jersey shore for relief from unusually hot, hurried weather were stunned by the grisly spectacle of hospital debris, industrial and household refuse, and other solid waste spread over many miles of the coastline. Environmental and political issues that had been simmering for years around the contamination of the Jersey beaches boiled over into front page news. Allegations of the migration of landfill destined refuse via the Arthur Kill Waterway in New York Harbor to the beaches of New Jersey and its attendant public outery precipitated a Court Order to stop the flow of floating and submerged material away from the site. The issue necessitated the design and construction of a positive barrier system to contain spillage under exceedingly tight time constraints. The purpose of this paper is to describe the development and installation of a novel Coastal Engineering system, a Mechanical Refuse Barrier, which virtually eliminated the migration of refuse out of the waterway while permitting the continued, efficient operation of the world's largest landfill.

Subject Headings: Waterways | Systems engineering | Health care facilities | Debris | Industrial wastes | Solid mechanics | Coastal engineering | Barrier islands | United States | New Jersey | New York

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