Sanitary Landfills

Last updated: February 12, 2017

What Does Sanitary Landfills Mean?

A sanitary landfill is used to prevent waste from presenting an environmental hazard through gas or leachate pollution. Waste is disposed of in plastic and impervious clay-lined pits with drainage systems that collect any liquids. Alternate layers of garbage and soil allow for faster decomposition. When the landfill is full, impervious clay is used to seal it off, and the area can be used for other purposes when deemed safe.

Safeopedia Explains Sanitary Landfills

Before 1935, waste was simply dumped in large heaps. These heaps of garbage produced methane pollution, which is dangerous because a build-up of methane could cause an unwanted explosion. Water that leaches through waste could pollute ground-water. The system used in sanitary landfills was developed in Fresno in 1935, and today 55% of solid waste ends up in sanitary landfills. However, the sanitary landfill system still presents environmental hazards, particularly if the liner is breached.


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