Solid Waste Disposal in the United States

History of solid waste disposal in the United States

Organized public works for human waste removal, street cleaning, water treatment and refuse collection was initially introduced to Americans urban in early 1800s. However, the American towns were forced to improve their environment and public health by recurring epidemics. This resulted to development of sewerage and water treatment systems in the 19th century. Regional institutions also took place in this period which made the public health concern shift to solid waste management at around 1880s. Due to lack of regional solid waste management infrastructure, solid waste management was made as local responsibility, concentrated on close municipal dumps.

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Solid waste management was organized around operations engineering units which included street sweepers, disposal, refuse collection, resource recovery, and transportation in New York City by George Waring, and his idea was adopted across the country. This idea has been advanced through acts and laws to define the modern solid waste management system controlled by municipalities and managed by a considerably a few private companies. It contains a mixture of composting, landfill, recycling and incineration and controlled by the clean Air Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 among other state and federal laws (Louis, 2004).

Why are transfer stations necessary? Are they more likely to be used when a landfill is nearby or far away?

Waste transfer stations serve an important purpose in a total waste management system community, since it acts as the bridge between the community’s solid waste collection program and the final facility of waste disposal. Transfer station refers to a facility with nominated receiving area where vehicles for waste collection discharge their load. The load is then compacted and put in larger vehicles for a final disposal site long-haul shipment. It thus eases waste transportation from the catchment area which is designated area in the transfer station locality, to the final dispositional site (Nathanson & Schneider, 2014).  

What are the advantages and disadvantages of incineration?

Incineration refers to waste treatment technique entailing burning of the organic material in waste or a form of thermal treatment. The main advantages of incineration include that it reduce waste quantity, it results to power and heat production, minimize pollution compared to land fill, cuts on transportation cost, enhance noise and odor control and it has a pollution filter an hence reducing air pollution. The main disadvantages include that ash waste a possibly harm the environment and people, it exposes the environment to pollution, and creates a possibility of possible future advanced environmental effect (Nathanson & Schneider, 2014).

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Pyrolysis process as used in solid waste processing

Pyrolysis refers to thermal degradation of organic substances without oxygen. The process is used developing thermal conversion technology of biomass. This process offers a chance for changing municipal solid wastes, non-recyclable plastics, scrap tires and agricultural residues into clean energy. It provides a smart way of changing urban wastes into products that can be used effectively for chemicals, electricity and heat production (Nathanson & Schneider, 2014).

Describe construction of a landfill including features that distinguish landfills from dumps.

Landfills refer to a well-designed and managed solid waste disposal facilities. They are structured to safeguard the environment from contaminants. The landfill structure ensures that there is an isolation of waste from the surrounding environment which includes rain, air and groundwater. Any permitted secured landfill contain a number of components that include bottom liner which prevents and separates the buried waste from getting into contact with underlying groundwater and natural soil. It also has cell which is the area that has been approved and constructed for waste disposal. It also contains leachate collection system where the landfill bottom is characteristically structured to ensure the landfill bottom surface is sloped and a low point.

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This is the point where any trapped liquids in the landfill are gathered and removed. The Leachate collection system has layer of gravel or sand at the landfill bottom, gravel packs, and a series of perforated pipes. Landfill also contains storm water drainage to control runoff, and methane collection system where perforated pipes are used to collect methane formed after biological breakdown of the waste. It also has cover and groundwater monitoring stations. On the contrary dump lack leachate treatment and collection system, liner at the bottom, cover and are much smaller than landfill (Nathanson & Schneider, 2014).

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