ELKHART — Marking the first step in a long process, a 15-acre section of the Earthmovers Landfill is being sealed off and will no longer be used to collect trash.
Trucks began hauling heaps of dirt into the privately owned landfill on C.R. 26 at the end of May, and the project to cap the north side of the site could wrap up at the end of July or early August depending on weather, manager Tom Wilson said.
“The weather has been great getting this work done,” he said. “We haven’t had a whole lot of rain, so they’re probably at least two or three weeks ahead of schedule.”
For the next few months, bulldozers will scale the landfill’s slopes while construction workers line the mound of waste with a black synthetic sheet, cover it with layers of compacted clay and dirt and finally top off the section with soil and vegetative grass. After that, it will be business as usual at the landfill until the next section is ready to be sealed off, Wilson said.
Wilson said it is difficult to predict the timeline to cap the entire 95-acre landfill, which has been in operation since the late 70s. He said the biggest factor is the volume of waste that the facility receives. Most of the waste, he said, comes from commercial and industrial businesses. The volume has dropped in recent years as the economy dipped, he noted. An emphasis on recycling programs has also caused the volume of waste to shrink.
The nearby Elkhart County Landfill largely collects residential waste. Manager Kim Davis estimated that the county’s landfill will probably start capping a section on the north side of the site in five to six years. The landfill covers 220 acres plus another 80 acres that are no longer used.