Landfill Liners, Capping, and Future Expansion

A panoramic image of the landfill liner
Sanitary Landfill Liners
Currently there are 7 lined cells (pads) located on the landfill.
Pad 1
Pad 1 opened in August 1991 and reached capacity in late 1996. The cost for construction of the lined area was $400,000 per acre.

The liner system of Pad 1 is composed of 9 layers:
  1. 6 inch clay
  2. 16 ounce of Geotextile Polyfelt (like a wool blanket or a felt material)
  3. 60 mil high density Polyethylene liner (may be either smooth or textured depending on how resistant to slipping the design required, and resistant to tears, chemicals, and punctures)
  4. 16 ounce of Geotextile Polyfelt
  5. 2 layers of Geo Net-Drainage Netting
  6. 16 ounce Geotextile Polyfelt
  7. 60 mil of high density Polyethylene liner
  8. 16 ounce Geotextile Polyfelt
  9. 18 inches of 1/2 inch stone containing a network of leachate collection pipes
Construction of liner pad 1
Pad 2 & 3
Pad 2 and Pad 3 were constructed in 1995. Pad 2 opened in October 1995 and Pad 3 January 1999. Pad 2 and Pad 3 combined have a life expectancy of 6 to 8 years. The cost for construction of the lined areas was $323,000. Both of these pads were constructed of 6 layers:
  1. 1/4 inch Claymax (Bentonite Clay inside 2 fabrics)
  2. 60 mil high density Polyethylene liner (may be either smooth or textured depending on how resistant to slipping, the design required, and resistant to tears, chemicals, and punctures)
  3. 2 layers of Geo Net-Drainage netting
  4. 60 mil high density Polyethylene liner
  5. 16 oz Geotextile Fabric (non-woven)
  6. 18 inches of 1/2 inch stone containing a network of leachate collection pipes
Pad 4 & 6
Pad 4 and Pad 6 were constructed in 2001. Pad 4 opened in October 2001 and Pad 6 opened in September 2003. Pad 4 and Pad 6 have a combined life expectancy of 10 years. It cost $246,000 per acre just to build these sites. Both of these pads were also constructed of 6 layers:
  1. 1/4 inch Claymax (Bentonite Clay inside 2 fabrics)
  2. 60 mil high density Polyethylene liner (may be either smooth or textured depending on how resistant to slipping, the design required, and resistant to tears, chemicals, and punctures)
  3. 2 layers of Geo Net-Drainage netting
  4. 60 mil high density Polyethylene liner
  5. 16 oz Geotextile Fabric (non-woven)
  6. 18 inches of 1/2 inch stone containing a network of leachate collection pipes
Construction of liner pad 4

Pad 5 & 7

Pad 5 and Pad 7 were constructed in 2007. Pad 5 opened in July 2008 and Pad 7 was opened in October 2014.
It cost $330,000 per acre just to build these sites. Pad 5 and Pad 7 have a combined life expectancy of about 15 years. Both of these pads were constructed of 6 layers:
  1. 1/4 inch Claymax (Bentonite Clay inside 2 fabrics)
  2. 60 mil high density Polyethylene liner (may be either smooth or textured depending on how resistant to slipping the design required, and resistant to tears, chemicals, and punctures)
  3. 1 layer of Geocomposite Net-Drainage netting (netting with fabric on the top and bottom)
  4. 60 mil high density Polyethylene liner
  5. 16 ounce Geotextile fabric (non-woven)
  6. 18 inches of 1/2 inch stone containing a network of leachate collection pipes

Pad Construction

All the material arrives on the site in rolls of different width. The Claymax layer is overlapped when placed. The fabric pieces in the Geotextile layer are sewn together with portable sewing machines. The polyethylene liner is seamed with a portable hot welder which, using heat and pressure together, joins the pieces together in an extremely strong "fusion weld".

"Capping" A Landfill


Closure is the process which a landfill goes through after it reaches the designed elevations. The goal of this process is to design and construct a final cover system that minimizes the percolation of infiltrated precipitation into the waste and the release of harmful landfill gas to the atmosphere. The final cover system is constructed to provide optimal rates of infiltration, evapotranspiration, and run-off which sustain vegetation, prevent erosion and require little or no maintenance.

Typical closure involves "capping" the landfill which includes constructing a final cover, laying topsoil, seeding a vegetative cover to prevent erosion, and constructing surface water diversion systems. Once the landfill cell has been filled, a final cap is installed when the landfill has reached the final permitted grading plan and no additional waste will be placed in these areas.

The final cap is made up of several layers consisting of a foot of intermediate soil cover, a geomembrane plastic liner, a geotextile drainage layer, 18 inches of vegetative subsoil, and 6 inches of topsoil. At the end of the process, the capped landfill cell looks like a small hill with healthy growing grass.

Throughout most of 2019 and into early 2020, GLRA capped half of its permitted landfill cells. The remaining cells are still actively accepting Lebanon County's municipal solid waste for the next three to four years until they fill up, get capped, and GLRA’s next generation landfill is constructed for Lebanon County’s waste.
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Future Landfill Expansion and the Next Generation

GLRA's existing active landfill is quickly approaching its design capacity. There is only space enough for an estimated four (4) years of additional trash before the landfill reaches final grade. Final Cap construction was completed on approximately 18 acres of the site in 2019 and 2020, with the remaining portions scheduled to be capped in 2021 and 2023. GLRA is currently pursuing a major permit modification to continue landfilling activities for Lebanon County in what is referred to as the Heilmandale Expansion. The Heilmandale Expansion consists of a modern double lined landfill piggy-backed on the GLRA’s existing closed landfill site 100825. The plan includes the construction of six (6) pads spread across a 47-acre footprint, 2 new leachate pump stations, a relocated landfill gas (LFG) flare, a new storage building, and a new and relocated electronics recycling facility. There will be a 140-foot increase in elevation from the peak of the existing landfill to the peak of the proposed landfill which will add approximately 15 years of landfill capacity. The major permit modification application was submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) in July of 2018. Overall, this permit approval process is expected to take two (2) to three (3) years. We anticipate a decision from PADEP on the major permit modification in 2021.

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