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Nature

Capping Landfills with Vegetation

What happens to that mass of garbage and waste when a land-fill is full? New research is hoping to show that turning the whole area into vegetation will be a real benefit for the environment.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist Pat Millner and safety manager David Prevar have worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and private consultants to design and conduct a pilot study for an alternative way to cap landfills.

The pilot project is set to take place on what was once a 30-acre municipal landfill, at the Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) operated in Beltsville, Maryland.

The idea is to cap or seal an old landfill with trees and shrubs, planted into a mixture of topsoil and compost, rather than using the more traditional clay capping system. And not surprisingly, vegetative caps are gaining speedy acceptance from authorities, considering that vegetative caps can reduce methane emissions and prevent rainfall from penetrating into the waste and then leaking through into the groundwater, contaminating it.

Not to mention that anywhere we can put more greenery is good for the environment.

Source: US DoA Agricultural Research Service
Image Source: D’Arcy Norman




One comment
  1. Peggy

    Yikes! What happens when the trees blow over or the animsls who eat the vegetation are poisoned? There is probably a very good reason private landfill owners are required to mow their capped sites and prevent trees an shrubs from growing because the could push roots through the sealing layers into the garbage mass. Wonder how much ths study is costing?

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