KDHE official describes best scenario for safe landfill at Marion quarry

The solid waste landfill Marion city residents are considering in the March 5 advisory election would be tightly constructed and operated, said a Kansas state official.

Paul Graves, chief of the solid waste landfills unit of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, told Marion residents Feb. 5 that a Subtitle D regional solid waste landfill in the Martin Marietta rock quarry north of town isn’t part of the regional plan or even applied for.

But, if it ever was built, he described what it might look like.

Graves said the actual landfill would include the excavated hole covered with two feet of low permeability clay, covered by high density poly 16-mil geosynthetic plastic, covered by leachate collection drainage area before coming up to the first layer of trash.

The sides would be contoured to prevent water from running on or off the waste, he said.

A gas vent would be inserted into the waste to provide control to take off methane gas from anaerobic organic decomposition, Graves said. There might also be some carbon dioxide and other gases.

In some landfills, Graves noted, the methane is being collected as a combustible fuel for gas pipelines or industrial uses.

The methane is not allowed to build up just as other chores are done on a daily basis, such as picking up any loose trash, he said.

Graves said leachate would be treated in a purification plant before disposal. Groundwater monitoring wells and a methane probe would be off to the side to detect escaped materials. Positioning of the wells is patterned according to groundwater flow, he said.

Graves said the waste would be covered daily with six inches of soil, and the final cap would again include clay, a drainage layer and a final cover of top soil.

Hazardous-waste screening of sample loads coming in would be done daily, and the working face exposed area of the landfill would be limited, he said.

Graves said Marion residents would be free to demand more inspections than the state mandated twice annually, and that he would expect the state to investigate any complaints.

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