Bluebird Ridge Recycling & Disposal Facility
On Friday, September 2, 2016, the DNR certified that the construction of Phase III & IV of Bluebird Ridge was done according to all regulatory standards. River View Construction and SWD staff worked to ensure the project was completed well ahead of schedule.
On September 6th we received the first load of waste into this new area. Waste Management took the honors delivering a semi-trailer load of residential waste. Because the first layer of waste over the liner/drainage layer (that red rock you see) must not contain large sharp objects (like big 2X4s), the employees of the SWD inspect the load. As well, the big compactor cannot crush the waste on this first layer (again, we need to protect the liner), so a low-ground-pressure dozer starts the process of pushing waste across the surface.
a brief history
Marathon County began operating the landfill in Ringle, December 1, 1980. It was developed to dispose of municipal, commercial and industrial waste safely. Marathon County owns 575 acres of land that can be utilized for waste management. Currently there are two designated disposal areas, Area A & Area B, with future expansion available.
All vehicles are weighed in and out of the facility. We currently average 90 vehicles per day, which deliver approximately 500-5500 tons. The refuse is identified by material type (Municipal/Commercial, Demolition, Sludge, Ash, Screenings, etc.). User fees collected at the site defray the cost of site operation, maintenance, future construction, state fees, administration, engineering, monitoring, closure and long-term care of the site.
At the site, we have a Maintenance Building, Scale Building and Office, Gas Recovery Building, Refuse Derived Fuel Building, and an equipment storage building.
Area A is approximately 27 acres in size and 70 feet in height t. It was developed in four phases. It took 13 years to fill, reaching its capacity in November, 1993. It contains about 1.5 million tons or 2.2 million cubic yards of waste. The refuse disposal areas for Area A have a five foot thick liner consisting of 4 feet of clay and one foot of sand for leachate drainage. Area A was capped with a 1-foot grading layer, 2 feet of clay, and 6" of topsoil.
Area B is the active landfill at the facility. It is approximately 311.5 acres with an estimated capacity of 2.4 million tons or 3.35 million cubic yards of space. It has a remaining expected life of 8 to 10 years. Different and stricter regulations were used for Area B construction. A Composite Liner consisting of a 4 foot clay liner, a 60 millimeter thick membrane liner, a rock drainage layer and a more expansive piping system for leachate collection was installed.
When the cell is closed it will require a 5-foot cap. This will consist of a 1 foot grading layer, 1 foot of sand for the gas collection system, 2 feet of clay, a 40 millimeter thick plastic membrane cover, a 6" grading layer, and 6" of topsoil.
Each landfill contains a piping system in which the leachate is collected and stored in underground tanks. The leachate is then pumped from the tanks and transported to a local facility for treatment and disposal. More than 100 million gallons have been removed from the two sites. Leachate is tested and analyzed. Water from monitoring wells located around the active and closed sites are analyzed semi-annually for indication of any problem that could exist.
One of the by-products of waste decomposition is landfill gas, primarily methane and carbon dioxide. These gases build up in a landfill and tend to escape wherever and whenever they can. Landfills are required to manage these gases. In July 1989, a landfill gas extraction and flaring system went on line. This $1,000,000 facility was one of the first in the State of Wisconsin. Vertical and horizontal pipes are located in the disposal area to collect gas produced. These pipes are connected to the gas recovery building, which is connected to a flare and to the Refuse Derived Fuel plant to run dryers and heat the plant. The gas flare, measuring 12 feet across and 30 feet high, is used to burn off the excess gas. Temperatures of 1100 - 1600 degrees can be reached in this process and it has destruction efficiency greater than 99%.
A private contractor is responsible for the daily operation of the site. State certified operators are on the site at all times that waste is delivered for disposal. The operators observe each load that is placed in the site. Unacceptable materials are removed and stored for eventual recycling. Waste is compacted using specialized equipment to densities that exceed 1,400 pounds per cubic yard. The compacted waste is covered daily to minimize odors and blowing material.
A private contractor also operates the Refuse Derived Fuel plant. This plant converts paper mill screenings into fuel pellets. These are sold as a supplemental fuel for industrial boilers that burn coal, wood wastes and tires.
Marathon County opened a permanent Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility in May 1997. This facility was the next step in an evolution of hazardous waste management that started in the county more than fifteen years ago with the popular Clean Sweep programs.
Beginning July 1, 2010 the county's Hazardous & Special Waste Collection Site relocated to the Solid Waste Department's facility at R18500 East Highway 29, Ringle. Individuals needing hazardous waste service must CALL IN ADVANCE to make an appointment. This ensures that trained staff is available to assist customers and provide for the safe management of the materials.
The Marathon County Solid Waste Department co-sponsored the county's first computer recycling event with Industrial Recyclers of WI and Marathon County's Health Department. Over 19.5 tons were collected and sent to Cascade Asset Management in Madison for reuse and recycling in 2000.
Since then ten annual drives have been co-sponsored by Marathon County Solid Waste and Health Departments, Industrial Recyclers of WI, MC Hazardous Waste Corporation and 5R Recyclers. Over 580,000 pounds of electronics have been recycled.
For the past eleven years, the department has participated in a five county Home Compost Bin promotion and sales event. During that time over 1,400 bins have been sold in Marathon County and over 6,500 collectively.
In 2000, the Ringle Glacial Bluebird Trail was established on the facility's property and became part of the effort to create a continuous trail across the US. The trail has 51 houses, 12 of which were built and donated by students from Horace Mann Middle School.
Wetland protection and an established trail system offer residents many recreational opportunities.