BTL will be closed for the Christmas Holiday from December 24th through January 2nd.

Why Do Sanitary Landfills Need Liners?

20th Century Landfills

Some of the biggest concerns about sanitary landfills continue to be their ability to prevent contamination of the local environment, whether it’s from vermin, odors, or contact with soil and water. In the early days of sanitary landfills (starting with the Fresno Municipal Sanitary Landfill, which opened in 1937), the focus was almost entirely on preventing problems like blowing trash and attracting vermin. The focus was indeed so narrow that a landfill was deemed “sanitary” if it was simply compacted and covered with soil on a daily basis.

These simple measures helped alleviate some of the more immediate and obvious problems traditionally associated with city dumps, but the designers and operators either did not recognize or address many additional long-term hazards associated with concentrating tons of mixed waste. In fact, it was originally assumed that water percolating through the soil, either from rainfall or as a result of organic decomposition, would be naturally filtered and rendered harmless before it reached aquifers or traveled into nearby soil. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

The proud opening of the nation’s first sanitary landfill in the late 1930s was in Fresno, California. Its operations were differentiated from old style city dumps by the new practice of compacting incoming waste and covering each day’s waste with a soil cover. Impermeable liners, leachate capture, and gas collection were simply not concerns in those years. It’s not surprising, then, that this historic site was declared a Superfund site. In addition to the tons of toxic waste that had accumulated over 50 years of operation, highly toxic leachate had migrated from the landfill to surrounding areas, including off site to several private, residential wells nearby.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that restrictions were put into place that provided surface and groundwater protection and restricted siting in floodplains or near endangered species’ habitats. The new restrictions also required controls for handling explosive gases, fire prevention, and mitigating bird hazards for nearby aircraft. In the early 1990s, more updates required active groundwater monitoring and provisions for both corrective action and long-term, post-closure management.

21st Century Landfills

In the first quarter of the 21st century, innovative technologies and approaches continue to be tested, with a new urgent focus on sustainability. Multi-layered protection of the local environment remains a high priority and long-lasting, dependable barriers that prevent incursion of landfill waste and leachate into nearby soil and water is a primary focus.

Liners by BTL


ArmorPro is built with the toughest materials for absolute and total containment.

Newest Articles:

Subscribe to Updates

Article Topics

Agriculture Covers Tarps Aquaponics Energy Liners Hydroponics Greenhouse Light Deprivation Water Gardens Farm Ponds Greenhouses Greenhouse Gardening Greenhouse Cover Fish Pond Pond Fish Golf Course Pond Golf Course Water Feature Natural Pond Landfill Cover Irrigation Irrigation Pond Irrigation Canal Hydraulic Fracturing Oil Containment Secondary Containment Fracking Oil Liner Fuel Liner Frac Pit Fire Protection Pond Fire Suppression Pond Fire Pond Geomembrane Canal Liner Brine Pond Koi Pond Algae Pond Nursery Pond Retention Pond Man-Made Lake Lakes Geothermal Greenhouse Commercial Greenhouse Preformed Pond Liner Groundwater Storage Lagoon Mining Pond Mining Lagoon Evaporation Pond Salt Pond Pond Liner Materials Catch Basin Stormwater Management Barren Pond Processing Pond Natural Swimming Pond Drainage Systems Ditch Lining Aquaculture Sewage Lagoon Mining Geomembranes Floating Cover Wastewater Containment Geosynthetics Cistern Lining Erosion Control Fertilizer Containment Winery Water Silage Cover Winery Irrigation Pond Baseball Field Cover Tailings Pond Produced Water Liner Produced Water Pond Produced Water Winery Construction Pond Winter Ponds Fish Hatchery Algae Raceways Coal Ash Containment Fishing Lakes Oilfield Pits Aquatic Habitats Retention Pond Lake Restoration Landfill Cell Liners and Cap Covers Leachate Pond Rain Cover Heap Leach Pads Residential Ponds Processing Pond Gas Collection California Drought California Pond Liner Overburden Containment Pond Liner Fish Stocking Pond Mine Reclamation Wastewater Cover Drought Irrigation Reservoir Sludge Management Cable Parks Baffle Systems Alternative Daily Covers Desalination Reservoir Pond Aeroponics Food Shortages Homesteading Prepping Toxic Waste Potable Water Storage Green Roof Clearwells Stormwater Harvesting