A short drive south of downtown Detroit is the Riverview Land Preserve, an approximately 400-acre solid waste landfill opened in 1968 that presently receives around 2,500 tons of trash a day.
It’s a dynamic site with private homes, public spaces and local waterways all in close proximity.
Consider its geography:
- Residential neighborhoods are immediately adjacent to parts of the property’s southern, western and northern boundaries
- An active municipal golf course borders its entire eastern boundary
- A handful of creeks and ponds are nearby, and the site is just two miles from the Detroit River
Approved daily cover material at the site included soil, wood chips and recycled tire chips. Soil had been the primary material; wood and tire chips were used if bad weather made earthwork impossible.
But unique circumstances in 2018 led site management to search for a better daily cover system. What sort of system that would be was still up in the air.
At the time, one cell at Riverview was actively receiving trash. Operators already knew where the next cell would be, but it was not yet approved for operations.
Here was the problem: Space was running out in the active cell. Regulatory approval for the new cell had not been granted. Not only was space in short supply, but without excavation in the new cell, the site was becoming dirt poor very quickly.
As a last resort, operators were forced to use clean fill from a borrow pit to perform daily cover. This was far from ideal because the borrow pit is located off-site, requiring added cost and transportation time. That soil also was initially earmarked for final capping of the almost-full cell and not for daily cover. They needed an alternative quickly to preserve the space available in the active cell.
As a stop-gap measure, Riverview purchased a tarp system to buy time for leaders to settle on a permanent alternative.
But Riverview also faced another challenge that landfill operators everywhere know all too well: Relying on soil daily cover is time- and labor-intensive and puts exceptional strain on heavy equipment like dozers, backhoes and dump trucks.
Atmos’ ADC foam demo sealed the deal
By 2019, the search for an alternative daily cover system had taken site operators across the country to see various options in action.
But one particular demonstration in northeast Pennsylvania stood out. The system on display there looked like it would work at Riverview. The only hurdle left was verifying with Michigan regulators that this was an approved alternative cover method. It was.
The equipment arrived at Riverview on a trial basis in March 2020 and has remained in place ever since. According to Riverview Land Preserve Operations Manager Kevin Sisk, the system’s impacts on operations were immediate and far-reaching.
By switching to the foam daily cover, Riverview Land Preserve:
- Slashed combined man and machine hours on daily cover operations to a fraction of what it had been
- Dramatically reduced daily wear and costly maintenance on its fleet of heavy equipment
- Made reductions in their labor force
- Redirected its remaining labor force to complete a wider range of other projects more quickly
A key component of working with Atmos is our unique model providing the state-of-the-art application equipment free of charge with the purchase of chemicals. This frees up funds for the site to allocate to other capital projects that may arise.
As a result of this transition, Riverview runs more efficiently, has cut costs and can conduct advanced project planning instead of merely reacting to day-to-day site needs.
Good thing, too. Another challenge was around the corner.
Odor control rounds out turnkey solution
As in many solid waste landfills, the Riverview Land Preserve contains several wells as part of its gas collection and control system.
The wells are designed to collect and flare landfill gases to eliminate unpleasant smells, but as they fail they operate less effectively.
Later on in 2020, after the foam cover system had arrived on-site, some of the gas wells at Riverview came due for replacement. As that work commenced, so did odor complaints from nearby residents.
Riverview approached our team to see if we could help.
After visiting a site where we had installed an odor neutralizing system, Riverview decided it was the right solution. Same as the foam cover system, it would be leased under a usage agreement so Riverview would not need to incur a capital expense.
The system was installed at the top of the hill with the fan blowing the mist directly over the area where the well work was underway.
It did its job: Atmos’ odor neutralizers helped eliminate the malodors at their source. Odor complaints from Riverview’s neighbors fell off drastically. The site also utilized Atmos’ odor neutralizers to stem odors emanating from the landfill working face. The linear misting system was set up on the perimeter of the working face to prevent working face odors as garbage was deposited into the cell.
Riverview is optimistic that Wayne County and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy will approve a pending application for expansion, partly on the strength of the site’s effective daily cover and odor control regimen.
A service-always mindset
Riverview Land Preserve became an Atmos customer because they saw proof that its alternate daily cover worked in the field. Then, with the installation of the multiple odor neutralization systems, a partnership was born.
The service is there. It’s a rarity in this business.