APWA Book Review

Beneficial Landfill Reuse
95 pp * 2003 * APWA * ISBN 0-917084-99-3

If you are responsible for a landfill or are anticipating the closure of a landfill or an abandoned waste site, this publication provides guideposts to transforming these facilities into community gems.

For public works managers, land is one of our most precious limited resources, particularly in urban areas. The purpose of this book is to provide examples of ways that exhausted landfill sites have been converted to new beneficial uses. They can become not only revitalized resources but also enhancements to surrounding land uses.

The question is what do we do with those old landfill sites? Do we consider them a burden, or do we see these facilities as opportunities and make them community assets by restoring the land and water once used as landfills? APWA's Solid Waste Management Technical Committee believes that with the proper skills and guidance there is an incredible opportunity for public works officials to take these landfill sites and turn them into renewable resources. The role of practicing solid waste officials is not just to build on the fabric of the earth, but to ensure that what is built or left for future generations is in harmony with the environment. We will never be able to replicate our natural environment, but with the help of good science and engineering, we can restore these abandoned waste sites to environmentally acceptable areas.

The chapters in this book are authored by practicing experts from around the country who are actively involved in restoring landfills and abandoned sites. The book is divided into nine chapters:

  • Chapter 1 identifies important federal and state guidelines that need to be taken into consideration when restoring a landfill site.
  • Chapter 2 identifies the legal and procedural challenges in selecting a reuse purpose for a landfill.
  • Chapter 3 provides perspective from the eyes of an environmental regulator on regulatory challenges that face a reuse project and emphasizes the importance of environmental regulatory agencies as partners to the success of reuse projects.
  • Chapter 4 outlines in detail the sound principles in conducting planning and design criteria for beneficial reuses of landfills.
  • Chapter 5 outlines an effective risk assessment program to reuse landfills for active and passive recreation.
  • Chapter 6 discusses the opportunity to harness methane gas, which through a complex biological process is created from solid waste.
  • Chapter 7 outlines a number of important ideas on how to procure funding to complete a closure and reuse project and discusses examples of what some states are doing around the country to help fund these projects.
  • Chapter 8 walks you through the steps in gaining support for your landfill reuse project. It will be essential in any beneficial reuse project to involve the public.
  • Chapter 9 contains examples of how abandoned landfills have been restored into viable community assets.

In summary, if you have a landfill in your community or you are considering a reuse project, purchasing this publication may be the best investment you ever made. Oftentimes public works officials are not thought of as environmentalists. But when you read this publication and recognize what public works officials are doing all over the country to restore their communities' natural resources, it is a true testament to the capabilities of practicing public works officials to strive to protect the environment.

APWA is committed to the concept of helping public works facilities be viewed as good neighbors in the community. For solid waste professionals this can be a challenge, but as the real-life examples in this text reveal, across the country old landfill sites are becoming viewed as new assets for communities. The Solid Waste Management Committee has shepherded the development of this document for use by public works practitioners.

We hope you find this book to be helpful and practical in developing creative and constructive solutions to managing old landfill sites in your area and in planning for future uses for existing, active landfill sites.

For more information on purchasing this book and other American Public Works Association books, please visit the APWA Bookstore online at www.apwa.net/bookstore or call the Member Services Hotline at (800) 848-APWA, ext. 3560.