A Safer Environment for All
When it comes to landfills, today’s facilities are highly engineered and designed to protect the environment. Pennsylvania’s landfills are built and operated by experienced professionals. They are closely regulated and are routinely inspected by local municipalities, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
How Do Landfills Keep PA Safe?
Landfills are engineered as closed containment systems with multiple safety features.
A multilayered liner system, engineered to last many hundreds of years, keeps the waste separated from the environment. A collection system catches the water that passes through the waste — this water is known as leachate. Leachate is treated to meet Clean Water Act standards before it is reused on site or released.
Incoming waste is compacted and covered each day. After the landfill is full, it is covered with a protective barrier to keep rainwater out and vegetated to prevent erosion. As the waste decomposes, it produces methane gas that is collected and destroyed or recycled into energy, helping to reduce the use of fossil fuels and dependency on foreign oil.
The waste and recycling industry poses some of the highest risks for its employees according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Therefore, our members adhere to the highest environmental health and safety standards. Our employees are highly skilled professionals who participate in ongoing safety training and continually re-evaluate their compliance guidelines, emergency procedures and policies. We are working with the National Waste & Recycling Association to advance safe practices in recycling and waste collection, processing and waste disposal.
In 2018, PWIA took a leadership role in advocating for stronger Slow Down/Move Over laws and enforcement. As a result, the Pennsylvania General Assembly unanimously passed a Slow Down to Get Around provision as part of Act 83 of 2018. The law requires motorists to reduce and maintain a safe speed when approaching and passing emergency vehicles, tow truck operators, solid waste collection vehicles, and other roadside workers.