When contained, the caustic waste water that seeps through the trash at the Barton County Landfill is a good thing, However, controlling that leachate is a complex process, one heavily regulated by state health officials.
That was the message Solid Waste Director Phil Hathcock brought to the County Commission Monday morning. Two of the flow meters that track the leachate have failed and have to be replaced.
The commission approved the $10,655 from EPG Companies, the Maple Grove, Minn., manufacturer of the system used at the landfill. The meters will be installed by landfill staff.
Hathcock said Kansas statutes require monitoring and regulation of the amount of liquid that is present on the liner of the landfill. This liner is the synthetic barrier that separates the trash from the ground and prevents the water from leaking through and contaminate the groundwater.
These regulations are strictly enforced by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and violations can result in hefty fines, Hathcock said.
According to the director, the landfill operates a leachate system containing pumps, flowmeters and controls that maintains and records the level of the liquid. This liquid drains to one corner of the facility and stored in a pool.
This is then recirculated through the buried trash, he said. This process speeds the decomposition of the waste and helps save space at the landfill.
Sure, this is the law, but “it is the right thing to do,” commission Chairwoman Jennifer Schartz said.
“We don’t want this to get into the groundwater,” Hathcock said.
In related business Monday morning, the commission held an annual review of the county’s Solid Waste Management Plan. By state law, Barton County is required to form and maintain a Solid Waste Planning Committee to develop and perform an annual review of the Solid Waste Management Plan, which is then approved by the commission.
As the Solid Waste Management Plan had a comprehensive review last year, it was recommended that no changes be made at this time, Hathcock said.