Overview of Broome County Landfill

Published 07/10 2014 03:52PM

Updated 07/10 2014 05:09PM

When most of us put our trash out at the curb, we don't give it a second thought.

That waste ends up in the landfill, which may look a lot different than you think.

Green, rolling hills make up part of the landfill. Mounds are actually buried trash that have been sealed off.

While there is an active burial section, Broome County Materials Recovery Manager Debra Smith wants people to know that the landfill isn't just heaps of smelly garbage.

"Today, the landfill we operate is leaps and bounds from that. We really operate a state of the art facility. We make every effort to keep it a pristine, clean environment," said Smith.

Smith says workers also make sure to maintain all areas of the landfill from mowing to making sure trash doesn't escape from the active section where haulers and municipalities drop off waste.

There are also structures the look like candy canes. They actually help vent gas from underground that the garbage produces.

"There are sections where you may see candy cane pipes and then other structures put in place and that's for gas collection. We now collect the gas and use it to produce electricity. We do that through a private company," said Smith.

There are 5 million tons of waste buried there. The entire landfill property is nearly 1,300 acres.

The free space is slated to suit the county's needs for the next three decades or so.

"That may sound like a long time to some, but it's really not. Again, that's why we really focus on waste reduction efforts when possible," said Smith.

Such as recycling to keep material out of the landfill and increase its lifespan.

Events like the record floods of 2006 and 2011 don't help with that, because of the amount of debris that is brought up as people work to recover.

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