Bismarck landfill near capacity; new site under construction

Published: Feb. 18, 2021 at 7:27 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - After 28 years of use, Bismarck’s landfill is close to capacity.

With construction of a new landfill almost complete, workers are dumping and packing the final loads of garbage before closing one spot and moving on to the other.

The Bismarck Landfill takes in on average 300 tons of garbage every day.

It must get 17 feet taller until it can be covered and the new landfill can be put to use.

The curb is the last place many people will see their trash, but once it’s taken away by the garbage truck, it ends up at the Bismarck landfill.

“In North Dakota our primary method or handling of household waste is landfills,” said solid waste program manager Diana Trussell for the Department of Environmental Quality.

Once the maximum capacity of garbage has been added to the landfill, the hill is capped to keep the waste in place.

“That’s two feet of compacted clay, then another 18 inches, then more clay, and then it’s seeded,” said waste crew leader Toby Sheldon.

The landfill will continue to be monitored for 30-years by state regulators.

“They’re going to check it for erosion, make sure no waste is escaping. We’re going to monitor the ground water still, we’re going to look at any potential gasses,” said Trussell.

Across the field, a cell has been dug, which will serve as the next landfill.

“We have enough land to sustain us for at least 60 years, which is really a plus because trying to find a new place to put a landfill is really tough,” said Sheldon.

With a new era, Sheldon hopes it will bring new ways of operation to the department.

“We’re hoping to use methane like Fargo does, and start selling our gas back to the electrical companies,” said Sheldon.

The Bismarck landfill is one of 13 in the state, and serves residents within a 55 mile radius of the site. The 55-foot-deep cell is just a part of the new Bismarck landfill that will open this summer.

It is expected to serve residents between 55 to 60 more years.

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