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Municipality of Carolina invests $4.1M to open new landfill cell

The Municipality of Carolina has invested $4.1 million to open a new cell that will extend the life of the town’s landfill system for another 20 years, Mayor José Carlos Aponte announced.

The so-called northwest cell, which was built 10 meters above sea level with a 57-meter slope, ensures protection of aquifers and subsoil. Materials required by regulatory agencies at the state and federal level were used, he said.

“With this new cell, we extend the useful life of the Carolina Landfill System for another 20 years, allowing us to continue providing an excellent service of non-hazardous solid waste collection,” said Aponte.

The cell measures about 10 surface acres and is capable of receiving approximately 5,000 tons per month. At present, there is an active cell in operation, while one is already closed. The new one is the third cell operating in the landfill. The current space allows the construction of a final phase, according to the Sanitary Landfill System design, which would extend its useful life by another six years.

The newly opened cell has “liners” and bentonite — the security system that protects the liner from sharp objects, ensuring that no material, chemical object, or hazardous liquid reaches the ground and contaminates the environment.

It also comprises a leachate extraction system, to contain the acids formed by the decomposition of waste and wet garbage. Those heavy contaminants must be extracted, pumped and stored in a 100,000-gallon tank, specifically built to operate together and support the new cell.

Construction of the new cell began in October 2016 and ended in September 2017. The work was conducted by Landfill Technologies, which operates the landfill system. The Environmental Quality Board vetted and approved the entire project upon determining it complied with all federal and local regulations. The agency subsequently approved the operating permit.

“The presence of a new cell does not mean that we can now expand the number of customers, but rather it allows us to continue providing solid waste disposal services to Carolina residents,” he said.

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