One of the Metroplex's major landfills is reaching capacity. Now, moves are being made to prepare for its closure.
The DFW Landfill in Lewisville was built in 1972 and has operated for the past 47 years. But now, the landfill is expected to reach capacity sometime in the next three years.
"Through careful planning, recycling, and other diversion methods, the landfill has lasted several years longer than expected," said Greta Calvery, senior public affairs manager for Waste Management, which operates the landfill.
It's bringing to attention the amount of trash we each produce in our homes.
According to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality data, 1.56 million tons of waste was brought to DFW landfill in 2018.
"The volume has been steadily increasing over the years with the population and construction increases but with diversion efforts, the percent increase has been less than the amount of population increase percentage," Calvery said.
With about three years to closure, the landfill is starting to scale back on trash input starting with the city of Highland Village. That city works with a third-party contractor while other cities that use the landfill — like Lewisville — work directly with WM.
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City officials with Highland Village said they received a letter in the mail in September from WM, notifying them of the situation.
The letter reads, "Because of limited remaining airspace capacity, we will no longer accept your waste at the DFW Landfill after December 31, 2019...This advance notification is being made to allow our valued customers enough time to take the necessary action to locate alternative disposal options effective January 1, 2020.”
Scott Kriston, the Highland Village public works director, said their contractor — Community Waste Disposal — is now in talks to start moving trash to the City of Denton landfill instead.
Kriston said there are several landfills in the area, some have lifespans lasting several more decades.
And efforts are being made to understand more about the future of trash in our area.
Calvery said the NCTCOG (North Central Texas Council of Governments) has recently reviewed reports and has established a committee as part of the Resource Conservation Council that is looking at the lifespan and availability of disposal options for this region.
"This is certainly is an eye-opener to the world's trash problem," said Calvery.
That's why WM is urging communities to reduce their trash output.
A good way to do that is recycling the right materials.
"If people recycled properly all of the acceptable materials in their curbside and community programs, waste would be drastically reduced," said Calvery. "Other options for further reduction include composting yard waste, brush, and other organic materials and simply buying more responsibly."
To learn more about reducing your own trash, WM has a website with information to help: www.RecycleOftenRecycleRight.com.
According to WM, the company has invested over a billion dollars into their recycling infrastructure, with over $100 million invested in 2018.
There are plans to invest over $100 million this year, with plans for three new recycling facilities and planned upgrades to existing facilities to handle more material, more efficiently.
Waste Management will continue to monitor and operate the DFW landfill during and even after its closure. Calvery said they will be working with the City of Lewisville to connect to their trails system as part of a partnership with them.
The landfill also operates as an energy source of sorts. Currently, WM controls odors by extracting gas produced by the decomposing trash. The landfill has 167 gas wells and runs two landfill gas-to-energy facilities with the gas collected on site. This creates enough energy to power approximately 5,000 homes in the area.