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The Lyon County Landfill

November is National Recycling Month and with the generous support of this newspaper, I will writing about recycling and trash disposal for the next four weeks. While we spend a lot of time talking about how to recycle, we don’t often spend time talking about why we recycle or for that matter why reducing and reusing are so important.

Recently, the Lyon County Landfill finished up a new cell. A cell at the landfill is a large dug out hole in the ground that is made very specifically to hold trash forever. A landfill cell is made like layers in a pan of lasagna. The layers are made specifically to protect our groundwater and include a clay layer, a geomembrane layer, pipes, and sand/gravel layers. The trash is added in layers sandwiched between these sand/gravel layers each day. The pipes are there to take away the liquid part of trash which is called leachate.

Leachate is produced from our trash. Think about a time when you took out your trash and the trash bag leaked? This would be like leachate. When it rains or snows or if there are liquids in our trash, these liquids eventually move down through the trash to the pipes that are at the bottom of the trash pile. This leachate is collected through the pipes and pumped into special holding ponds where it is eventually trucked to a wastewater treatment pond. Our trash is made from man-made products that leak out of things as those items decompose.

Landfills are not like the “dumps” of days gone by. There are many rules and regulations that have to be followed. In the old days, a truck would back up to a hole in the ground and just “dump” the trash out. This allowed for the leachate to soak into the ground and the trash was blown about while animals were able to get into it. Today, these are highly regulated facilities that all of the staff that works at our landfill are trained on how to take care of it. They are there to make sure to dispose of trash where it is supposed to go and to make sure that we all stay safe.

Trash collectors in our area do such a great job that often we do not even have to think about our trash other than to get it to the curb or to follow some sort of directions for disposal. The men and women who collect our trash, who haul it to the landfill are performing their duties day in and day out to keep things running smoothly.

The Lyon County Landfill currently serves eight counties. Lyon County Landfill has an agreement with these counties. We receive about 30 loads of trash a day which can be everything from a semi-load of trash to a trash truck. Self-hauling is also allowed by residents to bring their unwanted items to the landfill.

When a landfill is closed because it has run out of room, it has to be taken care of for many, many years. The trash is still there. It never goes away and so our next generations of kids will have to take care of the facility for quite some time. Currently, a new cell lasts about four years before it is full to the top of the hole. It cost about $5 million to build this last cell at the landfill. Read next week about recycling and how it is like playing in the financial market.

For questions on recycling or trash disposal, please call the Lyon County Environmental Department at (507) 532-8210 or the Lyon County Landfill at (507) 865-4615.

Lyon County Landfill, New Cell development.

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