TRC

Exit Strategy® Approach Facilitates Sustainable Municipal Waste Landfill Closure

TRC implemented an innovative, efficient, and sustainable remediation strategy that utilized a patented phytoremediation (Tree Well®) leachate management system and unique landfill gas management system, which stabilized and controlled site conditions and mitigated off-site impacts.

Industries

Client

South Macomb Disposal Authority

Project Location

Macomb, MI

The South Macomb Disposal Authority (SMDA) consists of five municipalities in southeast Michigan, which used an 80-acre site for municipal solid waste (MSW) disposal between the 1950s and 1980s. The landfill was closed without full resolution of potential environmental conditions—landfill gas, leachate migration, and proper cover. Precipitation was also infiltrating through the landfill causing groundwater contamination. Relationships between the previous site contractor/consultant and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) were strained. The local residents considered the landfills a blight on the community which represented abandoned real estate that otherwise offered the potential for valuable development. In addition, the municipalities were facing regulatory requirements/fines/penalties, as well as community concern over the condition of the landfills and potential off-site environmental impacts.

TRC teamed with Anderson, Eckstein & Westrick (AEW) to provide SMDA with a comprehensive remedial solution:

Technical. TRC was engaged to design and execute a remedial strategy to address environmental issues and capture contaminated leachate from the 80-acre site. TRC implemented an innovative, efficient, and sustainable remediation strategy that utilized phytoremediation, which is a process to decontaminate soil or water by using plants and trees to absorb or break down pollutants in lieu of traditional pumping systems. TRC’s remedial action plan was based on a patented phytoremediation (Tree Well®) leachate management system and unique landfill gas management system, which stabilized and controlled site conditions and mitigated off-site impacts. TRC is currently providing the municipality with operations and maintenance (O&M) services at the landfill.

Financial. Understanding the financial constraints of a municipal budgetary process, TRC crafted a guaranteed-fixed price remediation contract through our Exit Strategy® program, setting the maximum remedial costs and resolving the potential for clean-up cost overruns.

Community Outreach. Given the long-term polluted condition of the sites, and their proximity to residential areas, there was significant community concern. TRC’s collaborative and responsive performance on the project restored the MDEQ’s opinion of the project and allowed for collaborative dialog regarding project schedule and deliverables. TRC developed and executed a broad-based community outreach program to understand and address public interests. This outreach included a public meeting to communicate with stakeholders, subsequent update/progress meetings, and informational mailings to local residents.

TRC worked closely with the municipality, MDEQ, and community throughout the project. Recognized benefits of this sustainable remedy include:

  • Completion of the project under budget and ahead of schedule. Fines/penalties were greatly reduced based on the success and timeliness of the remedial actions implemented at the site.
  • TRC, AEW, and the client were recognized by the Environmental Management Association (EMA) for innovative rehabilitation of the former landfill properties.
  • Trees installed as part of the phytoremediation system controlled leachate migration and also sequestered a significant amount of CO2 annually. No electrical equipment is required to operate the leachate pumps.
  • Landfill gas generated during the bacterial decomposition of the MSW typically contains 50% methane, which is the second largest greenhouse gas emission from human activities. The landfill gas management system enhanced the collection and management of landfill gas, reducing overall emissions of methane.
  • Through a community/stakeholder engagement plan, area residents’ concerns were alleviated. Data from site monitoring currently shows no off-site impacts. After remediation, this former landfill site is now a park-like setting, being used by pedestrians and families.

See related services

Sustainable Remediation

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