All waste accepted at the Southwest New Brunswick Service Commission facility at Hemlock Knoll sanitary landfill is placed in a containment cell. Each cell represents a significant investment and can last, depending on configuration, up to 3 years. This is the big difference between the old style “dumps” releasing leachate directly into the environment and a modern landfill. This engineered space is maximized by staff using heavy equipment such as the Cat D6 and the Caterpillar 826 Landfill Compactor. The waste is formed into layers or lifts and then covered to ward off vectors such as bears and coyotes. Landfill gas, consisting predominately of methane, is created as a by product of the decaying process of waste under anaerobic conditions. SNBSC also operates a comprehensive pest control program to guard against rodent activity at the site.
There has been much progress toward environmentally friendly solid waste facilities. One of the biggest factors is the collection and treatment of leachate, or rain and snow water that falls on the cells. Leachate is collected for further treatment before being released to the environment. The solid waste 'cells' are lined with a piping system that will eventually move the raw leachate to the leachate treatment ponds, where a multi-step process ensures any water released back into the environment is clean and safe. We do regular, consistent testing of ground water at the release site to ensure that the process is working.