The City of Columbia Bioreactor Landfill operates using environmentally sound engineering practices for disposal of solid waste while complying with state and federal regulations.  The current disposal cell (Cell 5) is the second cell permitted to operate as a bioreactor, where liquids are added to the waste to accelerate decomposition, waste stabilization, and gas production.

Methane gas generated from the landfill is being converted to electricity at the on-site Bioenergy Plant operated by the Water & Light Department since June 2008.

A small vehicle drop-off is available for customers who want to avoid driving on the landfill. The small vehicle drop-off containers are located immediately after passing the scale house. This drop-off location is intended to improve customer convenience and operational safety because driving onto the landfill could be hazardous for small vehicles.

Items that are not accepted in the Landfill

Per city ordinance, the city shall not collect or accept for disposal at its bioreactor landfill, the following items:

  • Hazardous waste
  • Infectious waste which has not been rendered innocuous
  • Tires which have not been cut, chipped or shredded in accordance with Missouri Revisor of Statutes Chapter 260
  • Major appliances*
  • Waste oil from motor vehicles

* While ordinance prohibits the City of Columbia from disposing of appliances in the landfill, the City will collect or accept major appliances; after which they are recycled (not disposed of in the landfill).

Disposal of Asbestos

The City of Columbia Bioreactor Landfill accepts asbestos-containing material for disposal. Asbestos requires special handling and the Asbestos Disposal Policyopens pdf file should be adhered to in order to bring it to the landfill.  To arrange disposal of special materials, such as asbestos, call 573.874.2489opens phone dialerPlease print out and complete an Asbestos Disposal Formopens pdf file before bringing asbestos products to the landfill.

Bioreactor Landfill Waste Stabilization

The City of Columbia operates the first bioreactor landfill in Missouri. This means that waste decomposition is encouraged by pumping water into the landfill. The practice is very different from the conventional landfill, which is often called a “dry tomb” because moisture is not incorporated in the waste. Camp, Dresser & McKee, an international consulting firm, provided the engineering services associated with the design and construction of the landfill cells.

The primary differences in the conventional, Subtitle D practice and the bioreactor technique are shown below.

Subtitle D “Dry Tomb”

  • Compact waste and cover to reduce moisture infiltration
  • Very slow decomposition over decades
  • Landfill waste takes longer to stabilize
  • Methane gas is generated over a longer period of time

Bioreactor Cell

  • Place waste and add moisture to augment decomposition
  • Waste decomposes and settles more completely creating additional landfill volume
  • Rapid stabilization of waste, within 5 to 10 years of placement, into an inert mass
  • Accelerated gas production over shorter period provides greater volumes for green energy

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