Original Date: 01/22/2001
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Solid Waste Center
The City of Bristol, Virginia has realized a significant cost savings as well as created a revenue stream by utilizing an existing limestone quarry as a solid waste center. Design features of the facility include state-of-the-art containment materials, sensor technology, and a gradient control system. The City estimates that the landfill will volumetrically meet its waste disposal needs for the next 30 years.
In 1989, the City of Bristol, Virginia realized it was rapidly exhausting the air space in its existing landfill. Wanting to avoid a logistical and financial emergency with Washington County, Virginia, Bristol scouted out 50 sites as possible locations for a new landfill. Further investigation, however, revealed that more than 20 of these sites were unacceptable due to the region’s terrain. After many strategic planning sessions, the City decided to pursue an ambitious course of action. Immediately adjacent to the existing landfill lay an abandoned limestone quarry. Three prominent points made this site desirable: The imminent promulgation and implementation of U.S. EPA Subtitle D Regulations would render small jurisdiction ownership and management of individual landfills prohibitively expensive, opening the door for larger, regional facilities. Regionalism was imperative since Bristol realized it could not afford to operate a conventional facility.
The U.S. EPA Subtitle D Regulations were primarily performance rather than specification based, and would allow greater engineering flexibility than had previous standards.
The prospect of Bristol becoming dependent on a second party and having to pay for the costs of transfer and subsequent disposal was undesirable.
The limestone quarry is approximately 800 x 2,100 feet overall with an average depth of 350 feet (eight million cubic yards of air space). Bristol decided that the dimensions of the quarry met the Region’s waste volume requirements, so it purchased an option to buy the quarry and the surrounding 137 acres. While fulfilling regulatory requirements, Bristol focused on the marketing aspect of the proposed solid waste center. The City determined that it needed to process 200 tons of waste per day including its own in order to break even.
The quarry landfill design features state-of-the-art containment materials, sensor technology, and a gradient control system. In addition, Bristol realized a significant cost savings for this project as almost no excavation of the site was necessary. Construction began on September 9, 1996 and the solid waste center became operational on March 2, 1998. Other aspects of the facility include an on-site incinerator and tire shredder. Additional construction projects, such as a landfill gas collection system, are also planned. Bristol processes approximately 600 tons of solid waste a day and estimates that the quarry landfill will serve the region for the next 30 years. The revenue generated by processing regional waste has also resulted in a significant net profit to the City.
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