The Cedar Hills
In King County reducing waste and recycling are the first priorities for
handling the waste we generate. Even so, the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill
remains the backbone and a necessary part of the waste management system.
After all, no matter how much we learn to reduce waste, reuse goods and
recycle materials, we will always generate some waste.
The Cedar Hills landfill
is a state-of-the-art facility located about 20 miles southeast of the
city of Seattle. It takes all of King County's garbage, excluding the
city of Seattle's. It is approximately 1 mile wide, 1.5 miles long, and
125 feet deep. The active area of the landfill (indicated by the red arrow
above) is where garbage is unloaded. A close-up of the active area is
HOW A LANDFILL WORKS
- It takes about 5 minutes
to unload an 18-ton trailer full of garbage.
- As many as a dozen trailers
may be unloading at the same time.
- Every day, we add approximately
2,000 tons of garbage to the landfill!
Landfills are not just a huge mound of trash- they use the latest technology
to keep the community as safe as possible from the dangers decomposing garbage
can pose to the environment. This diagram illustrates some of the features
of the Cedar Hills Landfill.
- The 18-ton trailers dump
their loads of garbage in the active area of the landfill. That garbage
is then covered up at the end of the day with 6 inches of dirt.
- Rain that filters in with
the garbage produces leachate. Pipes at the bottom of the landfill collect
this leachate and treat it before sending it to the County's main water
treatment plant with the rest of the water we use at home, school and
- A plastic and a clay layer
beneath the garbage prevents contamination of ground water.
- Landfill gas, a byproduct
of the decomposition of garbage, is collected and piped to a flare station,
where it is burned.
Garbage disposal is no simple matter. Remember, the threat of contaminating
our water and air doesn't just go away when the landfill reaches its capacity.
The garbage continues to decompose, and must be monitored long after the
landfill reaches maximum capacity. (Federal, state and local regulations
require a 30 year post-closure monitoring period upon landfill closure.)
In the meantime, in another location, the process begins again, as new land
must be made available to take in our garbage. Landfills do not go away,
but remain a permanent fixture of our landscape.
YOU CAN HELP!
Through small changes in your behavior, you can greatly reduce
the amount of garbage that you generate.
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