So how does a modern landfill actually work?
Imagine a giant plastic bathtub in the ground. Now garbage is added to the open tub and covered over each day with contaminated soil or ground up construction debris.
As time goes by more and more trash is piled on and more highly toxic methane gas builds up as bacteria starts to work on the trash which causes the trash to decomposes.
This is when you start to get that trash smell. Any water that’s in the trash or any rain or snow that seeps through the cover starts to trickle down through the layers of garbage,
When water and waste are mixed it creates a toxic poisonous soup called leachate. Leachate contains all the dangerous stuff that’s in a lot of what people throw in the trash such as the tens of thousands of chemicals, heavy metals and other toxic materials found in electronics, batteries, prescription drugs and plastics just to name a few.
Now the leachate containing these poisons percolates through the trash and eventually pools at the bottom of the trash heap.
A set of pipes at the bottom of the trash pit collects the liquid and takes it to the collection tank and another set of pipes higher up in the trash heap collects and diverts the toxic gases. However only some of the gases gets captured over the life of the land fill the rest escapes into the air. These rancid odors and airborne toxins have been shown to travel over 4 km from a waste site.
History has proven that many parts of a landfill system will eventually fail, the collection pipes buried under the garbage will become clogged and eventually break, liners will be punctured by sharp objects and the chemicals in leachate will burn holes in the plastic linings. Even the EPA experts admit, all liners leak eventually.
If a leak were to be detected, it will be too late to repair. Once the liners begin to leak, small holes become big holes, and eventually the barrier between the waste and groundwater completely fails.
How and where the leachate will reach the groundwater is impossible to predict and this will affect homes using bore holes in the surrounding areas.