Windblown Waste

March 5, 2019 | General RCAP News, Solid Waste, USDA

Written by: LeAnn Kerzman

Practitioners of rural solid waste management see wind as a constant factor in collection procedures, system design and material disposal.  No one wants to have someone’s trash collecting in their yard, or have trash blowing throughout our communities.  Rural systems must plan and take action to minimize the effects of wind regarding all aspects of a solid waste operation.

We each have a responsibility as consumers, facility owners and solid waste professionals to educate ourselves, have appropriate policies, procedures, and ordinances in place, and follow basic best-practices. Simple steps can be taken to contain and minimize the impact of windblown materials such as:

  • Place household trash within tied/closed bags,
  • Use containers with secure, rainproof lids,
  • Be aware of your environment and protect from animals and scavengers with the proper containment method,     
  • Close commercial dumpster lids after each use,
  • Compactor trucks should compact and secure materials before continuing additional collections,
  • Cover and secure trailer-loads of materials when transporting to disposal site (this is the law in most areas),
  • Fence landfill locations to assist in the capture and recovery of windblown materials,
  • Monitor and collect windblown debris regularly, as the weight can be detrimental to the fencing structure if not routinely cleaned, and
  • Utilize Alternate Daily Cover (ADC), most commonly dirt or tarping, on the working face of a landfill cell to prevent the blowing and scattering of materials.

   A good example of a solid waste management entity using effective methods to diminish negative impacts of wind on their landfill is that of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. As a certified Manager of Landfill Operations and Technical Assistance Provider with the Midwest Assistance Program, the Midwest RCAP, Kerzman has been working with the tribe to accomplish needed solid waste facilities updates with support leaders in working with the tribe’s director of solid waste. This federally recognized tribal entity and the tribe is working to comply with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. OST is finalizing a Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan and Standard Operating Procedures to help reach these requirements. The tribe also recently secured USDA Rural Development funding to construct an additional cell at their existing landfill location, which includes a storage building with office space, a restroom and storage space (to clean, repair and thaw equipment), a weigh scale, a landfill compactor, and a wheeled scraper. One of the next steps for the tribe is to construct fencing around its eleven transfer-site locations to restrict illegal dumping and to eliminate pollution from the windblown waste near those sites.

     These improvements along with volunteer groups walking the roadways to collect trash will greatly assist in keeping the Pine Ridge community clean.  These simple steps are a reminder to all of us on how we can help reduce the number of windblown materials and maintain a cleaner, healthier community.  The Oglala Sioux Tribe has provided a good example and reminds us all how by working together, we can make a difference.