A landfill, by definition is simply a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial. Landfills generally fall within one of the following classifications; Class I, II or III, Hazardous or Unknown. The classifications are based on the type of waste that is buried on site as well as the amount of waste that is brought in on a daily basis, among other factors. A landfill may be further identified as being a Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), Inert or Hazardous Waste landfill.
Municipal solid waste (MSW) is a waste type that includes predominantly household waste with the addition of commercial wastes collected by a municipality within a given area.
Inert waste is waste which is neither chemically or biologically reactive and will not decompose. Examples of this are sand, concrete, stone, stucco, ceramic pipe and asphalt.
Hazardous Waste is any solid, liquid, or gaseous waste materials that, if improperly managed or disposed of, may pose substantial hazards to human health and the environment.
Landfills are known for producing high levels of Methane and Carbon Dioxide gasses. This gas combination is sometimes referred to as ‘landfill gas’ and is caused by the anaerobic digestion by microbes on organic matter. It is in the management, monitoring collection and disposal of these gasses that most landfill complications arise. There are very stringent regulations to protect the atmosphere and the groundwater at landfill sites–during fill operations and during post-closure operations.