Louisville officials are looking for help to determine how
quickly the Outer Loop Landfill is filling up.
Officials can't tell whether an experimental process for
digesting and compacting waste is working as well as the landfill's
manager, Waste Management Inc., had promised. So they have hired a
University of Louisville expert to help them.
What they find will help them
determine whether Waste Management can go ahead with hauling in more
trash from outside Jefferson County.
Figuring out how long the landfill will last before reaching
capacity is an important issue for area residents, said David Brown
Kinloch, a member of the Louisville Metro Solid Waste Advisory
Board, which consults with metro government on waste and recycling
It's likely to be the last municipal landfill in Jefferson County
because of space and environmental concerns, he said. Once it's
full, more of the area's trash will have to be hauled farther way,
potentially costing residents more, he warned.
"We need to make the one (landfill) we've got last a long time,"
The landfill should last at least another 40 years, said Bob
Schindler, metro solid waste manager.
Waste Management officials have said they want to make the
landfill last longer too, and in recent years they've won approval
for both an expansion and a national pilot project they call
"bioreacting." It involves putting more air, water and chemicals
into the landfill to speed the growth of microorganisms that digest
But last summer, a Waste Management engineer, Kevin M.
Mieczkowski, told the metro solid waste department that the company
could not meet the terms of an agreement that said it would achieve
space savings of 8 percent to 30 percent a year -- in part because
degradation does not occur at the same rate over time.
Company officials did not return telephone calls Friday, but in
an earlier interview, Waste Management spokeswoman Kathy Trent said
a practical measuring method was needed.
That's where Donald Hagerty comes in. The civil and environmental
engineering professor will be paid up to $2,000 to develop a method
to accurately measure the reduction in volume.
"I think this is very complicated," Hagerty told the waste
advisory committee last week. "We have to figure out what's going
on, and we have to figure out how to measure it."
He's agreed to give a progress report to the advisory board on
Reporter James Bruggers can be reached at (502) 582-4645.