Whether you are a municipality or private company, think about what you want to use and what is going to be right for your landfill. Look at the longer investment in ADC, rather than the upfront costs.
By Marlon Yarborough
Today, considering the advances in landfill solutions that are available in the industry, there should be no reason why many of the sites nationwide should not use some type of alternative daily cover (ADC) rather than moving or importing fill. From slurries to tarps and other types of ADC, there are a variety of solutions that can be effectively used at your site. Some may even use a combination of solutions, depending on the application that the landfill operators are comfortable with, as well as what they are approved to use.
Fill Versus Alternative Daily Cover
When importing fill, you must purchase dirt, soil or sand to be used on your landfill’s working face. Not only are you paying for the material to come in on a constant basis, but you also need to store it in a separate location. This means that you have to use your own equipment and manpower to move the fill to the working face and spread it—mandated at 6 inches. In order to achieve this requirement, an average of 12 inches per day, in most cases, must be introduced onto the working face, since the material seeps down below the trash. This means daily man-hours and equipment are taken up by this process that could be used for other tasks. The bottom line is that this is an expensive and time-consuming process.
On the other hand, alternative daily cover could include blown-on, slurries, membranes, tarps and other types of approved cover. Some studies show that by using an ADC on a daily basis, one can add one year of life to your landfill with every four years used, depending on the amount of tonnage taken in.1 While the other ADCs must be added to the working face on a consistent basis, traditional tarping systems are much more cost-effective since they can be used until they need to be replaced after 24 to 36 months. Polyethylene tarps are extremely durable, coated and flame resistant. If a fire breaks out in the trash underneath the tarp, many times they have been suppressed because the oxygen is cut off. Although the tarp may melt under the initial flame, it will not ignite, or enhance the fire. The tarp will keep it under control long enough for someone to come onsite and extinguish it.
Effectively Implementing an ADC at Your Landfill
When implementing ADC at your site, the first thing to research is what will work best on the working face. There are several variables you should be looking for. These include if you want a quick application, a thorough application, and you must know what is going to work best at your site in the least expensive way to cover your working face. It may not be just the price of the product; you must also evaluate how many employees it will take to apply the product as well as the man hours. Go with an ADC that makes your specific application the easiest and most efficient. One additional note to consider: work with your local government in order to get the specifics on rules and regulations on what kind of ADC is approved in your area.
When it comes to investing in additional equipment that applies ADC, consider using an Automatic Tarping Machine (ATM) that attaches to your equipment blade that will deploy and retrieve fabric panels. Not only do some spray-on products require you to put the material in a dedicated machine, but you also need to clean out the equipment after use, as well as store the product, which can get expensive and take more time. An efficient ATM uses a hydraulic drive motor and engaging system to unwind and rewind the tarp spool with variable speed control. An equipment operator has complete control of the ATM’s engine, height of the spool, and forward or reverse rolling through a controller unit placed in the cab or via wireless remote. These machines are equipped with adjustable mounting brackets, so they can be fitted to the blade of your existing dozer or trash compactor. These brackets offer quick and easy attachment and removal from your equipment. With this application, only the tarps would need to be maintained and checked periodically to make sure the fabric has not been compromised. If there are any problem areas, the tarp can easily be repaired either by a handheld sewing machine or repair tape. With pull on tarps, your workers are dragging them over the working face, which is typically a fairly rough area, with jagged metal edges that can cut the material and reduce the life of the tarp. By using an ATM, the tarps are rolled out instead of dragged to ensure that you get a long life out of them.
Find the Right Partner
When looking for a dependable ADC, consult references from customers who have used the product. You also want something that is durable and that you are willing to stick with. It is advisable to partner with a dependable company that will continue to offer support after the product has been sold to you. When consulting with a potential customer, I like to know how big of an area they will be covering on their busiest day and give them suggestions on what would work best for them. Once our product is delivered, I make an onsite visit, to assist in setting up their machine. This includes adjusting the brackets to the designated equipment blade and making sure the mechanics are familiar with our Caterpillar diesel engine and maintenance procedures. In addition, I personally train each operator on how to properly use the equipment. If operators are not trained properly and are uncomfortable using any ADC, there is a potential for the ADC to not live up to its potential. It is vital that operators deploy ADC materials in the manner in which the selling company suggests.
The Bottom Line
Landfills are able to use not only fill, dirt, sand or ADC, but they can also be approved to use either contaminated soil, auto-fluff (any parts of a car) or sludge from a factory—it is different for each site. However, in the end MSW pays the most to be deposited into a landfill, and your site may not be making as much money as it should if it is accepting an alternate product at a reduced rate. Rather than investing the time and money to deploy these materials—the transportation, the manpower, etc.—an ADC can usually cover an area in 10 to 15 minutes. You will save money with this solution. Whether you are a municipality or private company, think about what you want to use and what is going to be right for your landfill. Look at the longer investment, rather than the upfront costs. Investing in ADC and an ATM machine in the long term is the most cost-effective solution.
Marlon Yarborough has been working in the solid waste industry for 26 years. His expertise is geosynthetic landfill tarpaulin fabrics. He is the Marketing and Sales Manager for Tarpomatic, Inc., based out of Canton, OH. Marlon can be reached at (800) 500-5069 or on his cell at (225) 268-7234. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.tarpomatic.com.
1. Study performed by Tarpomatic.