First bioreactor landfill receives approval in Missouri

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Volume 37-134 For Immediate Release: May 18, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, -- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Solid Waste Management Program has issued an approval to the city of Columbia to operate the first bioreactor landfill in Missouri.  The bioreactor is part of its existing landfill which is located north of the city off of Route B in Boone County.

"The Department of Natural Resources is excited to work with the city of Columbia on this innovative research project," said Department of Natural Resources Director Mark Templeton.  "This facility will allow Missouri to gather information on the benefits of a bioreactor landfill over the traditional landfilling approach."  As part of the approval, the facility is required to complete additional monitoring and testing and must submit an annual report. 

A bioreactor landfill accelerates the decomposition and stabilization of waste. This is accomplished through the controlled addition of liquids to the waste mass.  The decomposition of organic material generates gases consisting primarily of carbon dioxide and methane which are commonly referred to as greenhouse gases.  The city will use the methane collected as fuel to generate electricity at the facility.

The Environmental Protection Agency revised the criteria for municipal solid waste landfills to allow states to issue research, development and demonstration permits for new and existing landfill units and lateral expansions. Missouri received approval to implement this rule Jan.16, 2007. The research, development and demonstration rule allows a three year approval with up to four extensions for a total of 12 years.