Landfill operators are tasked with properly covering trash at the Newton Sanitary Landfill. The Iowa Department of Resources (IDNR) requires compacted clay “cover material” to be placed and maintained over waste in the active portion of the landfill. Depending on how long it will remain there without receiving waste determines how much cover it receives.
Daily cover requires six inches of compacted soil. The Newton Sanitary Landfill has applied and received a variance from the IDNR to use the tarp for daily cover. Any waste that will remain there without being added to for 30 days must have intermediate cover and this must be a minimum of 1 foot of compacted cover material. Any waste that will remain there without being added to for 180 days must have long term cover and this must be a minimum of 2 feet of compacted cover material.
Efforts to reduce cover dirt is one of the highest priorities at the landfill, this may not seem like a big deal when the City owns the land and equipment to move the dirt, but this is the most expensive part of operating a landfill.
When you consider the loss of airspace and the cost associated with moving the dirt, it adds up to millions of dollars over the life of the landfill. Prior to hauling cover material, landfill staff measures the area to be covered and calculates the amount of cover dirt needed, so as not to overuse the material and still meet the IDNR requirements.