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New Wasted Space?

Brown County is well underway in constructing a greenfield landfill in rural Greenleaf, Wisconsin. This 70 acre landfill is designed to accept municipal solid wastes from Brown, Outagamie, and Winnebago counties as part of their tri-county agreement. As current landfill space fills up, this new site comes at an important time, and will serve as critical infrastructure in Wisconsin’s waste resource management industry.

The last official greenfield site in Wisconsin was constructed over 15 years ago, making this project incredibly unique to our area. A greenfield development means that the landfill cell is being built in a brand new location, rather than an expansion on an already existing landfill property. The land has yet to take on garbage and must undergo extensive changes before the first load is dumped. However, this offered a perfect opportunity for both experienced and young professionals to get a better understanding of what this process involves.

On June 17, 2021, Brown County hosted SWANA’s Wisconsin Badger Chapter to see the ongoing construction being performed at the site in Greenleaf. With over 20 participates, members were eager to step away from their home offices and join one another in person. Due to the pandemic, this was one of the first in-person events offered to members since the latter half of 2019.

Participants were guided by Mr. Chad Doverspike, Assistant Director for Brown County Port and Resource Recovery. Young Professional Chair Ms. Lindsey Carlson of SCS Engineers also providing support on many of the topics discussed. The audience was briefed on the history of the land, the County’s needs, engineering requirements and ongoing construction quality assurance (CQA) work. Engineering and design of the cell was a collaborative effort of many parties lead by Foth Infrastructure.

As part of the CQA work, Tetra Tech demonstrated the use of drones to capture the sites topography and construction imagery. This technology captures higher quality data and images at much faster speeds than the labor-intensive alternative of using a survey rod. It was interesting to see a “must have toy” now being used as a technical tool capable of such accuracy and precision.

Needless to say, the construction site was busy! Participates also observed the use of a soil nuclear density gauge, the construction of a below-ground leachate tank, and the installation of the geo-composite drainage layer.

Brown County designed this facility to best fit their needs, and the needs of their customers. In particular, the new scale office will operate three scales and implement a radio-frequency identification (RFID) system to decrease wait time. Also, the maintenance buildings, roads, and unloading area were all designed to accommodate traffic flow and allow for maximum efficiencies.

Designing with the future in mind means that Brown County plans to route their landfill gas to an anaerobic digester offsite. The digester, BC Organics, which is owned and operated by Dynamic will produce renewable natural gas (RNG).

The tour concluded with a lunch provided by Foth where networking and conversations continued amongst the group. Seeing old faces, learning new ones, and discussing future opportunities was a rewarding end to an already enjoyable day of professional development. As a student myself, this experience was especially beneficial. Observing landfill construction allowed concepts discussed in class become visual and more understanding. Furthermore, networking and learning from industry professionals was a tremendous opportunity that the classroom setting just cannot provide.

Thank you to everyone that was involved in the coordination of this opportunity for the Badger Chapter!

Written by Ian Munger, a student at UW-Stevens Point

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