The Johnson County Landfill (JCL) is located in the north-central part of the city of Shawnee in Johnson County. The landfill is owned and operated by Deffenbaugh Industries, Inc. The first area at the JCL to be designed, constructed, and operated per Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle D regulations was Phase 3 and this area opened up for disposal operations in November, 1995. Current landfilling occurs in Phase 1M and is expected to last until 2020. Phases 1, 2, and 4 were constructed many years prior to the 1991 Subtitle D regulation revisions. Landfill operations will then shift back to Phase 6 until 2043.
RCRA Subtitle D also resulted in a significant increase in the number of groundwater wells and monitoring activities at the JCL.
RCRA Subtitle D resulted in monitoring of landfill gas emissions around the perimeter of the landfill and inside any buildings at the landfill. In addition, the federal Clean Air Act regulations also restrict gas emissions from landfills. The JCL is inspected by the Johnson County air quality staff for compliance with the Clean Air Act. Because of the volume and quality of gas production at the landfill, the gas is used as an energy source, and an extensive gas collection system was installed and operational by the end of 1998. Currently, the landfill gas is being processed, treated, and distributed as an energy source.
KDHE and the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) have been meeting with JCL staff regularly since 1993 to assure open communication between all and provide for a forum to discuss all landfill issues. KDHE and the Environment Division of the JCDHE work closely on the review of reports, drawings, and documents required under RCRA Subtitle D and compliance issues including such areas as monitoring of groundwater, well drilling and development, hydrogeological investigations, leachate collection system, storm water management, and groundwater contamination remediation projects.
The JCL must have an operational permit from both JCDHE as well as KDHE. The JCDHE permit is issued annually and contains both general and specific operating requirements. The first permit issued by Johnson County to JCL was on January 29, 1982. KDHE began permitting the JCL in 1978.
Starting in 1982, quarterly inspections by JCDHE have taken place at the JCL. Currently, JCDHE and KDHE co-inspect the JCL two times per year. Inspections are based on the KDHE solid waste regulations which include visual inspection of landfill waste disposal operations such as working face area, asbestos disposal, special waste disposal, white goods area with freon collection, composting site, the construction/demolition landfill, and the random waste screening program. A review of records is also performed. An inspection letter is prepared by the Environment Division specifying those areas needing attention or correction. KDHE issues a compliance/non-compliance report.
Groundwater monitoring is required at the JCL based on an extensive set of state regulations covering groundwater monitoring systems, applicability, and design. The JCL first installed groundwater wells in 1988 for quarterly sampling and lab testing analysis. Groundwater monitoring wells have continuously been added to the monitoring well system based on landfill expansion. A total of about 45 active monitoring wells are currently used to monitor groundwater movement and quality at the landfill. Each new phase that is opened requires extensive groundwater testing and monitoring.
Water Quality Monitoring
Hayes Creek flows through the JCL and is sampled three times per year at three locations: upstream of landfill activities, center of the landfill, and downstream of the landfill. The water which seeps through the landfill is referred to as leachate and is collected within a leachate collection system. The leachate is sampled annually from each of the six phases of the landfill, as well as the French drain collection system.