Talking trash with Colonie

McGarry added that if the day were too windy, the landfill wouldn't even begin operations that day to minimize the impact on nearby homes.

Cunningham said he remembers in the mid-'90s driving from Cohoes to the landfill and the odor was so bad he couldn't even roll down his windows.

This odor is now being controlled by an active landfill gas collection system, which, since 2006, takes the methane gas that leaked from the landfill and converts it into energy.

Cunningham posed the question to McGarry about whether or not the methane gas that leaks from the landfill could potentially become explosive. McGarry said that is not the case.

"That's not going to happen here for a couple of reasons," he said. "The double containment liner system and the soils around here are extremely tight glacial tills and clays so there's no opportunity to really migrate."

There are pipes that run throughout the entire facility collecting the methane gas produced from the landfill. With the first 40 to 60 feet of trash that is put into the landfill, they begin to place horizontal collectors, which are 6-inch perforated pipes that are connected every 40 feet at hundred foot centers, according to McGarry.

"When we get to the end of the [landfill] cell, we'll drill verticals down," he said pointing toward the leachate, or rainwater that percolates through garbage. "We will connect to it on the high side so the water goes down, the gas goes up, and we draw the gas from it."

Once there is enough trash collected in the new cell, they can open the valves to the gas collection system and begin creating a vacuum to draw in the gas.

Driving up to the top of the mound of trash, which reaches over 400 feet high, there are a few attractions along the way, such as the site analytical worker's shaved dog " a Husky " standing on top of his pickup truck while he tests the groundwater for methane, a mannequin in an abandoned boat, and two large trash compactors. The 100,000-pound compactors will go over the just-dumped trash with 8-inch spikes attached to the tracks. They then spray out cement to compact the trash even more and control the odor.

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment