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Abstract: Apartments, City Parks, and Landfills--Can They Coexist?

Michael H. Green, Michael Macicak, Michael R. Curtis

We discuss a flexible, phased approach to assessing the environmental conditions at a former landfill site. The assessment sought to (1) define the landfill history and extent of landfill waste boundaries; (2) identify landfill gas generation, migration, and collection issues; (3) determine landfill leachate impacts to site surface water and groundwater; and (4) adopt measures for implementation of possible viable, expedited, and cost-effective remedial actions.

The landfill was found to extend much farther north and west than expected, underlying several apartment complexes. Most degradable organic materials and the necessary methanogenic microorganisms were no longer present. Detected methane and hydrogen sulfide most likely are the result of residual entrapment by site hydrostratigraphy and fill-type materials. A combination of clay-fill material, the building foundations, and paved areas produces a "capping" effect, thus preventing methane gas concentrations detected in the localized areas from venting to the atmosphere. Groundwater and surface-water quality impacts resulting from leachate are negligible. A landfill gas/groundwater monitoring well network was installed, which can be used for active or passive extraction of landfill gas. A remedial action report, prepared for the city of Austin, Texas, presented site remediation options based on the results of the assessment.

The steps that were followed provide an excellent "road map" for the assessment of the environmental conditions at most former municipal or private landfill sites. Such an assessment answers key questions about former landfill sites, and allows government agencies and private property owners to make informed land use and planning decisions while protecting the health and welfare of its citizens.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90983©1994 GCAGS and Gulf Coast SEPM 44th Annual Meeting, Austin, Texas, October 6-7, 1994