Purpose

Leachate is a highly caustic by-product of rain water and trash found in all landfills. This combination of rain water and trash, if left untreated, can lead to severe regulatory penalties and environmental issues. To capture and transport this sludge from under the landfills to special treatment centers is a series of complex underground piping systems. Over time and through the course of normal operations, this piping system can become restricted or even clogged. Leachate management is a challenge for every landfill.

Challenge

In the US, there are over 3,000 active Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) landfills with 42 in New York alone. A typical MSW landfill Leachate Collection System (LCS) consists of over 14,000 total linear feet of 4-10 inch diameter High Density Poly-Ethylene (HDPE) piping. Individual sections can vary anywhere from 200-1,000 feet in length and can empty into sumps located at depths up to 150 feet. In order to limit the amount of build-up or clogging through the calcification of leachate, it is recommended that every section of the LCS be cleaned and inspected on an annual basis.

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regulations require MSW maintenance programs to annually clean and inspect LCS in order to alleviate any potential blockage or seepage of leachate into surrounding areas. As a provider of remote cleaning and inspection services, specifically in the field of underground piping, Jamko was consulted on the effectiveness of various technologies and methods that could be used to maintain LCS.

Off the shelf underground systems are normally capable of cleaning and inspecting approximately 500-700 feet of piping using conventional techniques and equipment. To address longer length runs, most suppliers use a method of double ended cleaning and inspecting where the equipment is installed at opposite ends. By working from both ends, an area of overlap would be achieved using the shorter system. Although effective, a double ended approach requires an additional relocation and setup of equipment. This second relocation is both costly in labor and schedule. The ideal approach is to do everything from a single access point where possible.

Solution

With multiple sections exceeding 1,000 feet with only one access point, it was determined that a conventional system would not be sufficient both in cost and schedule. After consulting with Jamko’s in-house technical team, a custom solution was created to address the longer LCS lengths. This new system consisted of a custom camera and delivery system which allowed our technicians to enter through one access point, clean, remove and inspect the full length of the pipe of all blockages, leachate and calcified biomass, performing just a single pass.

In addition to our efforts, the MSW landfill often relied on a third party contractor to aid in the removal of valves and pumps blocking critical access points. Often, any gains in schedule from the new technology would be diminished from the delay in coordination with this external contractor. To remedy this issue, Jamko was able to offer a turnkey independent solution where our technicians would remove and install all necessary components.

In the end, Jamko was able to safely clean, inspect, and remove tough calcified biomass from over 14,000 feet of HDPE leachate piping. We were able to improve past cleaning and inspection times from 14 days to 10 days. This is an improvement of 29% in overall schedule and 25% in overall cost while at the same time providing footage of LCS piping that had been previously inaccessible.