In the United States more than 3.5 billion tons of solid waste are generated annually. Of this, more than 2 billion tons are agricultural waste, such as manure and crop waste. Almost 300 million tons are generated by commercial and industrial activities and municipalities, and another 1.1 billion tons are attributed to various mining operations (Vaughan, 1969). Increasing amounts of solid waste have had detrimental effects on environmental quality. It has become necessary to reprocess and reuse some, and to provide safe and environmentally acceptable ways of disposing of the remaining waste in properly constructed landfills. Pollution brought about by improperly constructed landfills may be very severe. For example, the contaminants generated by the waste at the old, abandoned Army Creek Landfill, New Castle County, Delaware, were so widespread that the situation received national attention. General and sincere concern expressed by many citizens of our State has prompted the Delaware Geological Survey to prepare this report. The report explains the functioning of a landfill, problems improperly constructed landfills may cause, and the geologic and hydrologic aspects that have to be considered in selecting a suitable disposal site for solid waste. The report does not contain discussions of other important factors, such as social impact, transportation, and specific health hazards, that must also be considered.
University of Delaware
Delaware Geological Survey Building
Newark, DE 19716
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