Solid Waste Landfills in Miami-Dade County: The Leachate Problem

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Coastal Zone Management

First Advisor

Stacy Myers

Second Advisor

Curtis Burney


Miami-Dade County's population growth and amount of solid waste collected continue to increase with time. Three major methods of municipal solid waste management used by the County are landfilling, combustion, and waste reduction/recycling. To date, landfilling remains as one of the most commonly used methods. Landfills pose obvious risks to human health and the environment. This paper focuses on a major environmental concern associated with landfills, contamination of ground and surface waters from leachate, and will use as examples the following sites: North Dade Landfill, South Dade Landfill, Munisport Landfill, and NW 58 St. Landfill. All four sites were chosen because of their proximity to sensitive areas, be it a wetland, water management canal, wellfield protection area, or protected bay. Therefore, pollution generated at these sites has the potential to cause harm to humans as well as the environment. Although the quality of landfill design and construction has dramatically improved over the years, ground and surface water pollution from landfill leachate continues to be a persistent problem. Many cases of ground and surface water pollution at landfills have been documented, among them are those listed above. Despite technological advances and increasingly strict regulations, the leachate problem accompanies landfills from their inception to many years after closure. And the need for new and alternative solid waste disposal methods grows ever apparent.

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