Waste Management

Although our industrial society produces a variety of solid wastes and waste waters, over the past 50 years we have made progress in disposing of them safely in landfills, by incineration, and in underground injection wells. Many wastes are also increasingly recycled or reused.

Basics

An old computer recycling farm in the Midwest. Image Credit: USGS/Photo by Carl Orazio.

An essential goal of waste management is to dispose of waste without contaminating water, soil, and air. Many wastes are disposed of safely in engineered landfills, by incineration, and in underground injection wells. All of these processes of waste management are monitored and regulated closely.[1] Waste management can also provide economic opportunity: generating energy from landfill gas; recycling to produce new materials from used plastic, paper, glass, or metal; or composting to produce rich soil from yard and food waste.   Read more

Frequently Asked Questions

American Geosciences Institute
American Geosciences Institute
American Geosciences Institute
American Geosciences Institute

Latest News

Earth
(2017-05-18)
April 26, 2017 The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment held a hearing on April 26 to examine a discussion draft of a bill that would amend certain provisions of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (NWPA) to streamline management and licensing processes for nuclear waste disposal...
An earthquake-resistant pipeline crossing the San Andreas Fault at Cholame, California. Image Copyright © Michael Collier http://www.earthscienceworld.org/images
(2016-12-05)
On Thursday and Friday, December 1-2, the National Academies' Roundtable on Unconventional Hydrocarbons held a workshop on Unconventional Hydrocarbon Development: Legacy Issues, Induced Seismicity, and Innovations in Managing Risk. The meeting brought together experts from industry, academia, state...

Case Studies & Factsheets

CI_Factsheet_2017_1_recycling_170331_thumb.JPG

Why Recycle? Recycling saves energy, money, materials, and natural resources, while reducing landfill use. It supplements the national supply of essential materials, reducing dependence on imports. As more minerals and materials become critically important - particularly in advanced technologies...

Research Database Publications

Cover of UR-58 ; Source: South Dakota Geological Survey
1989, South Dakota Geological Survey (SDGS)
This project was undertaken in 1984 by the South Dakota Geological Survey, South Dakota Department of Water and Natural Resources, to assess the geologic and hydrologic suitability of the Sioux Falls sanitary landfill site (SwY4 sec. 3S, T. 101 N., R. Sl W.) for continued use (fig. 1). The results...
Cover of UR-80-06 ; Source: South Dakota Geological Survey
1996, South Dakota Geological Survey (SDGS)
The purpose of this report is to summarize the geologic data, hydrologic data, and other site characteristics of the Davison County landfill. This information was compiled as a part of the Statewide Landfill Study.
Cover of UR-80-17 ; Source: South Dakota Geological Survey
1996, South Dakota Geological Survey (SDGS)
The purpose of this report is to summarize the geologic data, hydrologic data, and other site characteristics of the Pierre City (proposed site) landfill. This information was compiled as a part of the Statewide Landfill Study.
Cover of OFR10-17 ; Source: Kansas Geological Survey
2010, Kansas Geological Survey (KGS)
The Johnson County Landfill in Shawnee, KS, is operated by Deffenbaugh Industries and serves much of metropolitan Kansas City. Refuse, which is dumped in large plastic-underlined trash cells covering several acres, is covered over with shale shortly after burial. The landfill waste, once it fills...
Cover of UR-80-09 ; Source: South Dakota Geological Survey
1996, South Dakota Geological Survey (SDGS)
The purpose of this report is to summarize the geologic data, hydrologic data, and other site characteristics of the Haarstad landfill. This information was compiled as a part of the Statewide Landfill Study.
Cover of UR-80-21 ; Source: South Dakota Geological Survey
1996, South Dakota Geological Survey (SDGS)
The purpose of this report is to summarize the geologic data, hydrologic data, and other site characteristics of the Sioux Falls (Runge City) landfill. This information was compiled as a part of the Statewide Landfill Study.
Cover of UR-80-25 ; Source: South Dakota Geological Survey
1996, South Dakota Geological Survey (SDGS)
The purpose of this report is to summarize the geologic data, hydrologic data, and other site characteristics of the Winner City landfill. This information was compiled as a part of the Statewide Landfill Study.
Cover of UR-80-07 ; Source: South Dakota Geological Survey
1996, South Dakota Geological Survey (SDGS)
The purpose of this report is to summarize the geologic data, hydrologic data, and other site characteristics of the De Smet City landfill. This information was compiled as a part of the Statewide Landfill Study.
Cover of UR-80-23 ; Source: South Dakota Geological Survey
1996, South Dakota Geological Survey (SDGS)
The purpose of this report is to summarize the geologic data, hydrologic data, and other site characteristics of the Walworth County landfill. This information was compiled as a part of the Statewide Landfill Study.
Cover of BAS-09 ; Source: South Dakota Geological Survey
1997, South Dakota Geological Survey (SDGS)
The city of Sioux Falls, South Dakota will expand their municipal landfill in the near future. The landfill is constructed in fractured clayey till. During the last several years, sites with low-permeability sediments, such as clayey till, have often been selected for landfills and other disposal...