The Collier County Solid & Hazardous Waste Management Division is one of the pioneers in landfill reclamation projects in the country. The idea of reclamation of Cells 1 and 2 at the Collier County Landfill was first conceived in the mid 1980s when a pilot test initiated in 1986 was believed to be the first planned landfill reclamation project in the United States. Cells 1 and 2 were unlined disposal areas, comprising approximately 32 acres, located near the northeast corner of the Collier County Landfill. These two cells were filled with solid waste from 1976 through 1979, and subsequently closed by the County and covered with a soil cap.
As part of the the long term solid waste management strategy, Collier County started exploring various alternatives for reusing Cells 1 and 2. In 1991, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) selected the reclamation of Cells 1 and 2 as a demonstration project for the Municipal Solid Waste Innovative Technology Evaluation (MITE) program. The main objectives for the reclamation of Cells 1 and 2 included:
- Increase available airspace at the Collier County Landfill.
- Decrease site closure costs.
- Reduce the risk of groundwater contamination from an unlined landfill.
- Increase the potential growth of airspace at the landfill by eliminating unlined closed cells which cannot be expanded.
- Improve environmental compliance by eliminating unlined landfill cells.
- Recover soil for use of landfill cover.
- Recover recyclable materials.
This study proved successful for recovering landfill cover material (i.e., soil). Approximately 10 acres of the southwest corner of Cells 1 and 2 were mined, recovering 50,000 tons of soil suitable for landfill cover. The total volume of waste and soil buried was estimated to be 378,922 bulk cubic yards (bcy) and the total volume of waste and soil excavated was estimated to be 473,715 loose cubic yards (lcy).
The full scale reclamation of the 22-acre landfill commenced in December 2007, and successfully completed ahead of schedule and within the allotted budget, at less than $7 million, in September 2008. This saved the County aproximately $350 million in valuable landfill air space.
Landfill Reclamation of Cell 1 and 2 Awards:
In 2010, the Collier County Solid & Hazardous Waste Management Department received two awards for the Landfill Reclamation of Cells 1 and 2; SWANA 2010 Landfill Reuse Excellence Award, and Sustainable Florida Collins Center for Public Policy 2010 Best Practice Award.