By LAURA PERRETT
The Weber County landfill is supposed to have a new look by next year because a nature park will sit atop it, said Karlene Linford, the solid waste director for the county.
The landfill, in use since 1962, has reached its filling capacity. Linford said there are four million tons of trash within the landfill’s 65 acres.
“(Ogden and Weber County) have been working together to come up with a closure plan on the landfill,” said Joe Ritchie, chairman of Weber County Commission. “This situation has been an on-going process.”
“Naturally we want (the plans) to be compatible with activities the city has in that area,” he said.
Ritchie said a final decision has not been reached yet.
Linford said, “We will be putting in top soil, native grass vegetation, trees around the perimeter and hiking trails in the back.” A wetland is already there.
“We’re supposed to have the cap on by December,” Linford said.
Some vegetation will be put in by the end of the season, but it won’t be finished until next year, she said.
The landfill is surrounded by residential areas, and the Ogden Parkway Trail goes by the site of the new park. “We hope (people will come),” Linford said.
Because the landfill is full, a nearby warehouse serves as a temporary transfer station. The garbage is sent to Carbon County by way of East Carbon Development, Linford said.
A new landfill site will possibly be between 20th and 21st Streets in Ogden, Linford said.
At the old site, wells monitor water and methane gas to indicate if the landfill has any impact on the environment.
“New regulations say that any landfill that’s being used at the present time or closed after 1992 must have … post-closure monitoring for 30-plus years,” said Dale Stephens, district manager of South Utah Valley Solid Waste District.
Post-closure monitoring includes monitoring for gases, groundwater contamination, settling and integrity of the cap or final cover, Stephens said.
Other requirements include forecasting an end use for the landfill, Stephens said. “The preferred end use is an open-air facility or recreation area.”
Open-air facilities are preferred because the gases are able to vent into the open air and dissipate.
Stephens said there are a few incidents where structures were built atop landfills. A detection system must be installed to monitor gas build-up.
“Fan ventilation kicks on at a preset number, and (fans) pull gases out from underneath the building,” Stephens said.
In addition to monitoring landfills for harmful materials, Stephens said landfills are sometimes excavated to determine how quickly waste is decomposing.
When moisture is present, organisms consume organic material in the landfill, Stephens said.
“(If it is) a dry environment inside the landfill, then organisms don’t seem to consume organic material (as they would) if you have a more moist environment,” he said.
Utah’s arid environment does not facilitate decomposition of the waste stream as readily as places with more moisture and greater precipitation, Stephens said.
Tests are being run by the Environmental Protection Agency to accelerate decomposition.