Frequently Asked Questions


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Where does the trash come from that ends up at the Austin Community Landfill?

Based on informal surveys of trucks entering the landfill, we estimate that the majority of the waste received at the Austin Community Landfill is generated from Travis County.

Can a resident bring debris to the landfill or is it only available for customers with business contracts with the landfill?

Individuals can bring debris to the Austin Community Landfill during business hours. Current public landfill disposal hours are Monday through Friday: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday: Closed

What is not permitted for disposal at the landfill?

The Austin Community Landfill does not accept batteries, liquids, household chemicals, paint, motor oil, used oil filters, computers, florescent light bulbs, or other hazardous materials.

For a fee, you can drop off tires. Tires are recycled.

Appliances cannot be disposed of in the landfill; however, Waste Management will accept and recycle appliances, for a fee. Go to Contact Us page for fee information.

Is there a fee to dispose of debris at the landfill? Does the landfill accept credit cards?

Yes. Disposal fees depend on the size of the load. Go to Contact Us page for fee information. Cash, checks and credit cards are accepted.

Is there anything I should know when bringing debris to the landfill?

Yes. The Texas Transportation Code, as well as Waste Management, requires vehicles be properly equipped to prevent loose material from escaping by blowing or spilling. Please make sure your truck or trailer is securely tarped to prevent "accidental" litter. Also, make sure there are no holes or cracks in your truck or trailer bed.

What safeguards are in place at the Austin Community Landfill to protect the groundwater?

Protecting groundwater is a very important part of our business. It is included in all phases of development, from the initial planning, through the permitting process, during operations and even after closure.

To protect groundwater at the landfill, we use an engineered liner system that consists of synthetic materials and natural soils. We maintain a series of groundwater monitoring wells around the border of the landfill. Each well is monitored semi-annually to make sure the groundwater remains unaffected. The samples are tested by a certified independent laboratory and reviewed by qualified personnel. The laboratory results are submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Who inspects and monitors the Austin Community Landfill?

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is the primary regulatory agency. TCEQ reviews and issues operating permits for waste disposal and oversees all of the daily operations.

Periodically, TCEQ inspectors arrive unannounced at the Austin Community Landfill. Upon the inspector's arrival, the landfill is required to provide any environmental information requested. The TCEQ inspector reviews and inspects landfill operations, including the waste disposal area, weigh station, leachate system, gas collection system, and record-keeping.

In addition, Waste Management conducts self-inspections. Our company-wide program mandates routine inspection of each function of the landfill operations. Where applicable, independent monitoring and laboratory testing is performed by approved third-party companies and is submitted to the TCEQ.

Waste Management also has a full-time environmental protection manager who oversees the environmental protection systems at the landfill and fulfills state record-keeping and reporting requirements. At the landfill itself, there is a management team, licensed by TCEQ, with responsibility for daily operations.

What does the Austin Community Landfill do to control odors?

To manage potential landfill odors that may be created by gases generated from the decomposition of waste, Waste Management uses a landfill gas collection and control system. The gas collection and control system at the landfill consists of gas extraction wells that have been installed in deposited waste areas to remove landfill gas that is generated by decomposing waste. In addition, horizontal gas collectors have been installed across the active disposal area to control odors.

Odors may also be generated by incoming waste loads. To address these potential odors, we screen incoming waste and if we identify particularly odorous waste streams, we can restrict how these are handled (including refusing to accept the waste). We also seek to minimize potential odors from newly deposited wastes by covering fresh waste on a daily basis. The landfill also uses perimeter and portable mister systems to neutralize odors.

How is landfill gas managed?

Much of the waste that is created is disposed of in a landfill, where it decomposes in a biological process, similar to a compost pile. As waste decomposes naturally, it produces landfill gas. This gas is then collected through a system that includes wells, collection pipes and a compressor to create a vacuum.

Landfill gas can be handled in two ways: it can be safely destroyed in a flare, or harnessed and used as an energy source. Currently, the gas is burned at a central, high-temperature flare. However, Waste Management is partnering with Houston-based Energy Developments, Inc. (EDI) to build a gas-to-energy plant at the Austin Community Landfill that will convert landfill gas to electricity that can power nearly 6,000 homes. Construction of the plant is expected to be completed by 2006.

When landfill gas is used to produce electricity, it helps protect and preserve fossil fuels. In addition to generating electricity, options for gas recovery include using it directly as boiler fuel, producing compressed natural gas for vehicle fuel, creating steam for industrial processes, and upgrading it to pipeline-quality gas.

How does the Austin Community Landfill help the community?

We help by collecting and disposing of the waste generated in the community in a safe and proper manner. Remember, on average, a Texas resident generates more than 7.3 pounds of trash every day. With a population of more than 860,000, Travis County alone generates, on average, 3,100 tons of waste every day. By safely managing waste from homes, businesses and institutions, we improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods we serve.

We hire locally - Austin employees work, live and raise their families in this area. When we invest in local employees, they reinvest in the local economy as homeowners, shoppers and taxpayers. We also contribute directly to the local tax base through corporate, real estate and payroll taxes.

The Austin Community Landfill supports other local businesses as well by investing millions of dollars each year in the purchase of their goods and services. Our financial support of these businesses helps them remain a viable part of the community.

We also support community groups and schools; since 2002, Waste Management has contributed more than $43,000 to the Manor Education Foundation in support of Bluebonnet Trail Elementary School's science programs.

In Austin, we partner with Don't Mess with Texas to remind drivers to "cover your loads" when bringing debris in trucks and trailers to local landfills. State law and Waste Management require trucks and trailers to properly tarp and secure their loads when coming to the landfill.

We also partner with Keep Austin Beautiful to support electronics recycling collection events, community clean-ups, tree plantings, recycling and other issues to make Austin a beautiful place to live and work. We offer certificates for free disposal for neighborhoods that organize clean-ups through Keep Austin Beautiful; we also serve on the organization's board of directors.

We also are a sponsor of the Colorado River Foundation KIDS program, which takes disadvantaged youth on river raft trips and nature hikes to teach the importance of the environment.

We also provide free tree recycling during the holidays; we donate the mulch to Habitat for Humanity for use in landscaping the homes built by the organization.