Health Effects

Think it’s safe living near a landfill? Studies show it’s probably not.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “the hazardous air pollutants (HAP) emitted by municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills include, but are not limited to, vinyl chloride, ethyl benzene, toluene, and benzene. Each of the HAP emitted from MSW landfills can cause adverse health effects provided sufficient exposure.”
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Leachate is a landfill waste product created when rainwater flows through decomposing waste and picks up toxic contaminants. The creation of leachate, sometimes called “garbage soup,” presents a major threat to the current and future quality of ground water. A release of leachate to the ground water may present several risks to human health and the environment.

The release of hazardous and nonhazardous components of leachate may render an aquifer unusable for drinking-water purposes and other uses, which is what happened to the aquifer on the corner of 6 Mile and Napier across from the historic school house in Northville Twp.

Leachate impacts to groundwater may also present a danger to the environment and to aquatic species if the leachate-contaminated groundwater plume discharges to wetlands or streams.

The Arbor Hills East (AHE) Landfill, owned by Republic Services, does not have a base liner in place but it has a slurry wall. Advanced Disposal, the company that purchased Arbor Hills Landfill from Republic Services, plans to chip away at this slurry wall for its vertical expansion of AHE.

AHE entered into a consent order in the late 1980s which required remedial activities that included the slurry wall, gradient control, a pump-and-treat groundwater control system, an active gas collection system and final closure. AHE has dual gas and leachate extraction wells in place. Republic Services (BFI) is responsible for all long-term care, environmental compliance and any remedial activities associated with the AHE portion of the landfill.

Advanced Disposal is responsible for Arbor Hills West (AHW) environmental compliance. AHW has a double composite liner system and an active gas extraction system.

The active gas extraction system for both the east and west portions of the landfill are owned, installed and operated by Republic Services.

There are 3 groundwater zones monitored around the landfill – the upper, intermediate and lower zones. The only continuous aquifer beneath the site is the lower zone.

More about leachate

Our mission is to improve the environment by working with neighbors, government entities, area businesses and community leaders to create a clean and safe place to live and work.