The Hartford landfill, operated under contract by the Metropolitan District, is actually two landfills a double-lined ash disposal area and the main disposal area, which receives process residue and other bulky and non-processible waste. The main disposal area features a landfill gas collection system, which captures the methane created by decomposing waste and burns it to generate electricity, and a leachate control system.
The City of Hartford opened the landfill on Leibert Road in the North Meadows for use as an open-burning dump in 1940.
In 1951, the Hartford Fire Department burned shacks erected on the landfill by dump dwellers.
Between 1953 and 1977 all waste produced in the City of Hartford was burned in the then-state-of-the-art Hartford incinerator. Byproducts from the burning were emitted into the air without any pollution controls. During this period the landfill received incinerator ash and bulky wastes.
The City of Hartford leased the landfill to the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA) in 1982. Until 1988, the landfill received raw municipal solid waste (MSW), non-processible MSW and bulky waste.
Since 1988 the landfill has been used not for raw garbage but to receive ash from the CRRA Mid-Connecticut Project trash-to-energy plant as well as non-processible material and assorted bulky and special wastes. CRRA estimates that the landfill now contains approximately 9,500,000 cubic yards of ash and non-processible waste.
Since leasing the site from the city, CRRA has installed several environmental control systems at the landfill, all of which will function for a minimum of 30 years after the landfill is closed:
A gas extraction and collection system in which 82 wells capture gas before it enters the air, decreasing odors, while using that gas to generate enough electricity to power 1, 500 to 2,000 homes.
Minnesota Methane LLC operates the engines that convert Landfill gas to electricity. CRRA and the City of Hartford share in the proceeds of the electricity sales, and will continue to do so as long as the engines operate.
A groundwater collection and pumping system that captures and treats groundwater that may flow under the landfill.
An ash-leachate collection system that collects and treats rain water percolating through the ash landfill.
A groundwater monitoring program ensuring the area surrounding the landfill is safe and remains so.
CRRA also contracts with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to control nuisance birds in the area of the landfill.
The City of Hartford continues to own the North Meadows landfill. CRRA pays the city more than $600,000 per year in lease payments and other payments associated with the landfill, part of more than $5.3 million in host community benefits paid to Hartford each year.The lease payment ends December 31, 2008.
Hartford residents frequently drop off bulky waste at the landfill. For instance, between Jan. 9, 2006, and Aug. 31, 2006, Hartford residents dropped off material at the North Meadows landfill 1,809 times.
Under the revised closure plan approved by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, the landfill will receive its final delivery no later than Dec. 31, 2008. The plan calls for the installation of a state-of-the-art synthetic cap for the entire 80-acre landfill rather than the soil cap specified in DEP regulations. The synthetic cap, made of a thick plastic material, will mean there will be 90 percent less infiltration by rain water.
One possibility for the landfill after it is closed is to develop it into parkland. This could include walking trails, a fitness course, wildlife habitat and panoramic views of Hartford, the surrounding hills and the Connecticut River.
Reprinted with permission of the NorthEnd Agent's.
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