What is an Alternative Daily Cover?

March 20, 2018
Landfill Liners

An alternative daily cover (ADC) refers to the use of a material other than soil as a  daily cover for a landfill. A daily cover is required by federal regulations to improve health and safety around a landfill. While 6 inches of soil are traditionally used for the daily cover, soil cover uses valuable airspace and introduces the need excavate and haul soil to the site. An alternative daily cover can be a more efficient and cost-effective means of cover.

Federal regulations for covering landfills were issued in 1993 when the EPA published a document outlining the use of appropriate alternative daily covers for all landfills. ADCs (also called landfill daily covers, rain covers, or cap covers) are what cover the landfills to maintain sanitary conditions and prevent vermin and disease. At the end of each day the exposed waste has to be covered by something. In the past, dirt or shredded paper have been used but there are better options available now.

Whereas six inches of paper or dirt can blow away, today’s options have longer staying power. State regulations may differ slightly. California, for example, can use any of the following as an ADC: foam products, geosynthetic fabric or panels, processed green material, sludge and sludge-derived materials, ash and cement kiln dust materials, treated auto shredder waste, contaminated sediment, foundry sands, energy resource exploration and production wastes, compost materials, processed construction and demolition waste, shredded tires, and spray-applied cement. Because federal and state agencies are looking for more environmentally friendly options, some of these substances are legally allowable but probably not the best choice for the environment.

A geomembrane cover manufactured from a synthetic reinforced polyethylene is far more efficient and safer to use in such landfill applications. This type of ADC has many advantages to the other options. GSMs are excellent at:

  • controlling odor and dust
  • minimizing windblown litter
  • discouraging owls and birds
  • preventing pests and critters
  • improving fire safety by reducing fire risk
  • shedding surface water more quickly
  • improving the overall appearance of the landfill.

A geosynthetic membrane (GSM) provides many advantages over dirt or shredded paper in addition to the reasons listed above.

GSMs can also be reused, which is a great cost savings for a city or state department. They add no additional layer of uneconomic material to the waste, which preserves the usable life of the landfill. In addition, they add no compression or sealing, which allows the freest movement of generated gasses through the waste for greater potential generation of energy. They are easy to install and are excellent at tear resistance.

At Western Environmental Liner our GSM covers can be manufactured with different attachments around the perimeter, including D-lines, grommets, or triangles that can be used to attach ropes or seatbelt webbing to tie the covers down.

We started as a tarp manufacturer, and we’ve never forgotten that covers need to be tied down. Contact us for a quote.

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