Environmental Protection

The Austin Community Recycling & Disposal Facility (ACR&DF) is operated safely and in compliance with protective state and federal environmental laws. Waste Management works to meet or exceed state and federal environmental requirements designed to protect air, groundwater and surface water.

The landfill is engineered to protect against environmental impacts through use of sound planning, design and operations, which provide safe, long-term disposal of waste within the facility.

Groundwater protection is an integral part of construction and operations. Through strong engineering, construction and quality assurance testing, Waste Management can be confident that it has met or exceeded federal and state landfill liner requirements designed to protect human health and the environment. The current landfill liner system uses a federal- and state-approved composite liner system consisting of re-compacted clay soil and a high-density polyethylene plastic liner.

Groundwater monitoring wells located around the perimeter are strategically located around the landfill footprint and are sampled and analyzed on a scheduled basis by trained monitoring technicians. The water quality data is evaluated on a semi-annual basis by independent professionals and submitted to TCEQ annually.

A leachate collection and extraction system is placed over the liner system. (Leachate is the liquid generated from rainfall and the natural decomposition of waste.) Leachate is collected in sumps and automatically pumped to an onsite lined holding pond. Leachate is disposed of off-site at approved and permitted wastewater treatment facilities.

To manage storm water runoff, the Austin Community Landfill uses both structural controls such as silt fences, rock dams, erosion control mats, and other best management practices along with stabilization of landfill cover through use of vegetation and mulch.

The landfill employs a collection and recovery system to control landfill gas, which is formed by the decomposition of solid waste. Gas extraction wells have been installed to remove the gas, which is directed to a landfill gas to energy plant that uses landfill gas to produce "green energy." The green energy power station has a 5.8 megawatt generation capacity of green energy, producing enough electricity to power nearly 6,000 homes.

The TCEQ inspects the landfill and its operating standards on a regular basis. These announced and unannounced inspections include a review of the facility operations and record-keeping standards.