Landfills are an essential part of our waste management system, providing a necessary way to dispose of our garbage. However, the location of landfills can be a contentious issue, particularly when they are located near populated areas. In Milwaukee, the location of landfills has been a source of concern for many years. In this article, we will explore the history and current state of landfills near Milwaukee.
History of Landfills Near Milwaukee
The first landfill in Milwaukee was established in the 1930s, and it was located near the intersection of 27th Street and Hampton Avenue. At the time, the landfill was considered an innovative way to dispose of waste, and it was seen as a step forward in managing the growing amount of garbage produced by the city.
Over time, however, the landfill became a source of pollution and a nuisance for the surrounding neighborhoods. As the landfill grew, so did the number of trucks transporting garbage to the site, causing traffic congestion and air pollution. In addition, the landfill was not properly lined, which led to contamination of the groundwater and soil.
The problems with the 27th Street landfill eventually led to its closure in the 1960s. However, this did not solve the problem of where to put Milwaukee’s garbage. A new landfill, known as the Orchard Ridge landfill, was established in the 1970s. This landfill was located in the Menomonee Valley, an area that had been heavily industrialized and was seen as an appropriate location for a landfill.
The Orchard Ridge landfill was much larger than the 27th Street landfill and was designed to be more environmentally friendly. It was lined with clay and plastic to prevent contamination of the groundwater and soil, and it had a system for collecting methane gas produced by the decomposing waste. Despite these improvements, the landfill was still a source of pollution and odor for the surrounding neighborhoods.
The current state of landfills near Milwaukee
Today, the Orchard Ridge landfill is still in operation, and it is one of the largest landfills in the state of Wisconsin. The landfill is operated by Waste Management, a private company that has a contract with the City of Milwaukee to manage the city’s waste. The Orchard Ridge landfill takes in approximately 2,000 metric tonnes of garbage per day, and it has a capacity of over 20 million metric tonnes of waste.
Despite efforts to make the Orchard Ridge landfill more environmentally friendly, it is still a source of pollution and odor for the surrounding neighborhoods. The landfill is located in a low-lying area, which makes it prone to flooding. In 2010, heavy rains caused a portion of the landfill to collapse, releasing methane gas and causing a strong odor that affected nearby residents.
In addition to the Orchard Ridge landfill, there are several smaller landfills and transfer stations located throughout the Milwaukee area. These facilities are used to transfer waste from smaller trucks to larger ones that transport the garbage to the Orchard Ridge landfill. While these facilities are not as large as the Orchard Ridge landfill, they still pose a risk of pollution and odor for the surrounding neighborhoods.
Efforts to Address the Issue
The issues surrounding landfills near Milwaukee are complex, and there are no easy solutions. However, there have been efforts to address the problem.
One approach has been to reduce the amount of waste produced by the city. The City of Milwaukee has implemented a recycling program, which has helped reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. In addition, the city has implemented a program to collect food waste, which is then used to produce compost. These efforts have helped reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and have helped make the city more environmentally friendly.