Feasibility Study for Solid Waste Mining, Worcester County, Maryland
EA has provided a wide variety of solid waste and environmental management and engineering services for Worcester County since 1986. For over 20 years, EA has provided all of Worcester County’s solid waste consulting services and has negotiated and obtained numerous permits with State regulatory agencies. Most significantly, EA negotiated and obtained the first-ever permit for a bioreactor landfill in the State of Maryland. The recirculation of leachate through the waste mass at the Worcester County Central Landfill Facility has accelerated the decomposition and stabilization of the solid waste. This enhanced natural decomposition enabled consideration of landfill mining to reclaim both resources and airspace from the stabilized solid waste cells. EA performed a feasibility study of landfill mining, including evaluating both environmental and economic benefits and concerns. The study included field borings and sampling into existing waste mass to characterize suitability of the waste for mining. The study showed that gains in airspace of approximately 100% and an extension of site life from 28 to 48 years was feasible. A life-cycle economic analysis incorporating the costs of landfill mining and residuals management, along with the avoided costs of capping, new cell construction, and new site acquisition, was performed. The analysis indicated a $14.6 million (12%) savings over the 48-year site life.