Biology students visit the Big River Road Landfill

Students in Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding’s Material and Methods class in environmental science recently visited the Big River Road Landfill in Leland.

The landfill is designated for municipal solid waste products such as cardboard, plastic, aluminum cans, paper, tree branches and more. It has been in operation since the 1980s and consists of over 148 acres.

The landfill receives waste from every county that borders Washington County, including those in Arkansas. Roughly 500-600 pounds of waste is hauled into the landfill daily. The facility is operated by Republic Services, the second largest provider of non-hazardous waste collection in the United States.

Amber Hoffman, a regional environmental manager with Republic Services, presented to the class during its visit. Hoffman explained how durable plastic liners, geotextile mats, clay, sand, gravel, dirt, pipes, leachate ponds and more are incorporated into designing each refuse cell — the standard building block of a sanitary landfill. At the Big River Road landfill, a refuse cell is typically five acres in length and exists for 18-24 months before it is filled up.

Brady Chambley, a senior majoring in environmental science at Delta State, was amazed at the complexity of maintaining a landfill.

“The amount of work it takes to keep up a landfill is surprising, yet very important,” said Chambley.

To learn more about the environmental science program at Delta State, contact Baghai-Riding at nbaghai@deltastate.edu or 662-846-4797.

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