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Evaporation helping reduce costs for landfill

June 8, 2012
Steve Schulwitz - News Staff Writer , The Alpena News

ATLANTA -When the Montmorency-Oscoda-Alpena Solid Waste Management Authority approved the construction of a pair of large lagoons to store the landfill's leachate, it was with the hope that the process of evaporation would help reduce the amount of money spent on having the leachate hailed by truck from the landfill. It appears those hopes are beginning to be realized.

Operations Manager Steve Wikaryasz told the landfill board on Friday that recently evaporation has been removing as much as an inch a day for the lagoons. Coupled with a new recirculating process, the landfill is anticipating significant cost savings.

"We put these lagoons in to try to save money, to hold the leachate and not have the constant expense of having it hauled as often," Alpena Commissioner Lyle VanWormer said. "Basically they are doing exactly what they were designed to do. in a six-week period, with a buffer, we can save probably in the $60,000 to $70,000 range. This is the first time we have gotten numbers that show that the evaporation rate is as good as we expected and maybe better. We were expecting maybe 11 and 13 percent evaporation, and we are getting about 20. We're beginning to see a return on the investment now."

Wikaryasz also has been utilizing the recirculation of the leachate through one of the cells. He has a truck remove leachate from a lagoon and has it lightly sprayed into a cell, which will then return to the lagoon, but only after more has been evaporated.

"It goes into an active cell which is bermed around it, so it doesn't go anywhere else. I believe as much as 20 percent of what we recirculate is being evaporated and the rest returns to the cell."

The recirculation process began in the middle of May and the landfill has not had to have a hauler remove any of the polluted water since. Prior to the implementation, trucks typically ran to and from the landfill daily. Wikarysz said the process can be used for the warmer months of the year, but will halt when winter nears.

"We started it due to there shouldn't be any freezing any longer at night and we can run our equipment safely without anything freezing," Wikaryasz said. "We would like to go right up until things start to freeze again and put the equipment away."

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Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5689.



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