Landfills are locations where rubbish is deposited and subsequently buried underground. During this process, precautions are made to ensure that the waste does not come into contact with any groundwater and pollute it. Since their first documented appearance, landfills have remained largely unaltered. However, the security regulations have changed such as to maintain the safety of the landfill sites as well as its workers, the portable landfill gas analyzer or the carbon dioxide leak detector is widely used.
Did you know that in Ancient Greece, Minoan Cretans would dump waste into open pits and then bury it? This is one of the earliest versions of landfill examples we get in history. In 1937, Fresno, California, created the first sanitary landfill, which resembled today’s landfill.
A typical landfill begins as a hole dug in the earth, which is then filled with crushed soil or liner. The pit fills up over time, and the landfill becomes more of a mound as more rubbish is added. The landfill is sealed when it reaches the point where it can no longer accept rubbish. A properly sealed landfill has a “cap” that keeps water and humidity from entering. With the help of the portable methane detector, it is possible to detect if there is any natural gas leak. With advanced machines such as landtec biogas 5000 Landfill Gas Analyzer, it is possible to detect combustible gases and also contribute to wastewater treatment
What are the different types of landfill?
- Landfills for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW): MSW landfills are the most common type of landfill and are used to dispose of domestic waste.
- Landfills for industrial and institutional trash: These landfills are where industrial and institutional garbage is disposed of.
- Hazardous Waste Landfills: These facilities accept specific waste that must be dealt with care because it may be harmful if not properly disposed of.
In a landfill, waste decomposes and produces methane. Many gases can be found in landfill gas. Between 90 and 98 percent of landfill gas is methane and carbon dioxide. The remaining 2 to 10% contains nitrogen, oxygen, ammonia, sulphides, hydrogen, and numerous other gases. The amount of these gases produced is determined by the type of waste in the landfill, its size, oxygen content, moisture content, and temperature. While the generation of these gases normally peaks in five to seven years, a landfill can produce gas for up to 50 years. The relevance of a portable multi-gas analyzer is demonstrated by landfill gas emissions.
Landfill gases contribute to climate change. CO2 and methane, both greenhouse gases, are the primary components. Methane is a significantly more powerful greenhouse gas in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, with each molecule having twenty-five times the effects. Nonetheless, methane contributes less to the composition of the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
How does this affect the people exposed?
People who work at the dump or live in the surrounding areas may be exposed to landfill gases. Gases from landfills can move over or beneath the ground. Through the landfill surface, gases can escape into the atmosphere. Winds will carry landfill gases into the city once they are in the air. Gases migrate above ground, according to odors from typical landfill operations. The majority of landfill odors are caused by ammonia and hydrogen sulphide. Gases may move underground through the soil to reach residences or service corridors on or near the landfill, where methane and carbon dioxide, for example, may displace oxygen. Methane is also extremely combustible, and there are a number of incidents reported which caused fire.