Archive for Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A look inside the landfill

Variety of activity — even wildlife — abounds inside the nearly 1,000-acre site

A truck exits the active cell after dropping off a load of waste at the Johnson County Landfill in Shawnee. Hungry gulls converge on the garbage, which is leveled and compacted by heavy machinery as it pours in.

A truck exits the active cell after dropping off a load of waste at the Johnson County Landfill in Shawnee. Hungry gulls converge on the garbage, which is leveled and compacted by heavy machinery as it pours in.

April 25, 2012

Inside the landfill: Mountains of garbage

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The Johnson County landfill, covering nearly 1,000 acres in the center of Shawnee, absorbs more than 5,000 tons of garbage a day from more than a dozen surrounding counties. All day, trucks drive into the active area to dump loads of waste while a corps of massive earth-movers levels and buries the garbage as it comes in. Once the active cell pictured here reaches capacity, operations will continue at a new cell that has been constructed in accordance with government regulations. Enlarge video

Inside the landfill: 180 degree view

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The Johnson County landfill, covering nearly 1,000 acres in the center of Shawnee, absorbs more than 5,000 tons of garbage a day. In this view of an active landfill cell, trucks drive into the active area to dump loads of waste, and a team of massive earth-movers level and bury the garbage as it comes in. Once this cell reaches capacity, waste will be dumped and buried in a new cell on the premises. Enlarge video

The Johnson County landfill, covering nearly 1,000 acres in the center of Shawnee, absorbs more than 5,000 tons of garbage a day.

No, it isn’t a pretty sight. And yes, it stinks — sometimes beyond the landfill’s boundaries.

But behind the steep berms hiding it from public view, the landfill is home to both arid moon-like landscapes and lush green pockets teeming with wildlife.

This week, The Dispatch takes you on a photo tour of the largest landfill of its kind in the Midwest.

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