Saturday, April 21, 2012

Trip to the Landfill

Today was the day! We finally took a tour of the county landfill. And it was one of the most interesting tours we've been on. Needless to say, M was so excited!

The free tour was organized by South Wake Solid Waste Management. After we got to the landfill, we were given a brief, but very informative presentation describing all the areas of the landfill (with areal photographs) and the layers it was composed of.

Then we all got into a big van and taken to the spot just a few yards away from the landfill's cell that is now being filled with garbage. Since it was Saturday, things were pretty slow. We saw only three or four garbage trucks pulling into the area and unloading. Consequently, there was only one compactor working. But that was just fine since even a not so busy landfill was a very happening place. But not very smelly at all.

Actually, that was one of the most surprising things of all. Even standing just across a road from all that trash, it didn't smell all that bad. Sure, there was an occasional whiff, but not much more than the smell from a dumpster behind a typical restaurant.

Another surprise was how clean the place was. I mean, sure, there was a whole lot of garbage in the cell, but driving all around the landfill we saw maybe just a couple of small pieces (plastic bags, actually), laying around, and there was a crew member walking towards them to pick them up and return to the proper area.

We were taken to all the interesting areas of the landfill, including the methane flare and the leachate tank. We also got to go to the very top of the old, sealed field. From 400 ft up, we had a nice 360 view of the entire facility as well as of the Shearon Harris nuclear power plant in the distance (what, you haven't gotten one in your neighborhood?!) It was almost a picnic-perfect spot, I'm telling you.

And then the tour was over and we returned back to the old transfer station shed. The last cool thing we got to see from the van was an area in which oyster shells are collected before being shipped to the coast. And then we got back to our car and headed home, but only after dropping off some old batteries at the household hazardous waste drop-off area.

If you live in Wake County, you can register for the next available tour (on Sept 10) - it's free and very interesting. You'll definitely think twice before throwing things away.

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