Seneca Open House Introduces Community to Modern Landfill

10/14/2019

On Saturday, October 12th, the staff at Seneca Landfill hosted the first-ever Open House at our facilities.

The goal of the event was to create an open, transparent dialogue about how modern-day landfills operate.  With so many misconceptions about landfills, we believe in educating members of the community about what exactly goes on at Seneca.  We wanted to dispel the myths and rumors about landfills being open mountains of trash, swarming with birds and fuming with odors.  In reality, modern-day landfills are clean, engineered, and environmentally sound facilities that also serve as renewable energy resources. That's why we wanted to invite community members to see for themselves!

Throughout the day, groups were led on guided tours of the facility.  We focused our discussion on engineering and environmental controls that protect the groundwater, the surface water and the air.  Items we showed everyone included the advanced liner system, the perimeter monitoring systems, the daily and intermediate cover systems, the truck wash, and the gas collection systems.  We explained that the advanced liner system (that includes 7 layers) is constructed, leak tested, and certified under the observation of a 3rd party engineer before any waste placement occurs at the landfill to prevent any leaching or contamination to soils or groundwater.  We also explained how we put a minimum of six inches of cover over the garbage at the end of each day so that trash does not have a chance to create odors or attract pests.  We also showcased our on-site wastewater treatment plant that receives the wastewater collected and contained by the advanced liner systems.  The treatment plant does just that - it treats, filters, and cleans the wastewater that is collected at the landfill.

One of the biggest attractions was the renewable natural gas processing plant and compressed natural gas fueling station located at Seneca Landfill.  The landfill gas generated by the decomposition of the trash in the landfill is collected through a series of pipes, then processed into a valuable renewable natural gas.  This natural gas is used to fuel CNG vehicles (including school buses and our own garbage trucks) as well as put into the natural gas pipeline.  The amount of renewable clean energy we process is equivalent to heating over 5,000 homes in a year.  In addition, we have over 40 CNG garbage trucks and support vehicles in our fleet.  

Our tour guides impressed our guests by explaining all the regulations we adhere to. Every aspect of our operation is controlled and regulated; from how much waste we can accept to how often we can open new cells.  Our site is carefully monitored for compliance with DEP rules regarding water, gas/odors, and stormwater/erosion. We take the safety of our community seriously, and want to ensure that we meet or exceed all regulations.

We want to thank everyone who braved the rain and chilly weather to be with us.  We appreciate your open-mindedness and willingness to learn about our operations.  Your enthusiasm has inspired us to host more open houses soon. 

We also want to thank Valley Lines, Inc. for supplying two CNG school buses.

If you were unable to attend this event, we look forward to having you at a future Open House. Dates will be posted on our website. In the meantime, check out this video which gives a brief overview of the facilities.