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Sep 10

Roswell Municipal Landfill

Posted on September 10, 2020 at 2:01 PM by Public Affairs

Every day a new item makes its way to your household trashcan. Waste collects and is then tossed into your collection bin, either a large bin in the alley or a curbside container. From there, the Solid Waste Department’s trash collectors take over. When waste makes its way to the landfill, landfill employees work hard to ensure safe and proper disposal. 

Photo of a solid waste truck collected trash
Alleyway trash collection. 

Landfill staff have a variety of responsibilities and roles. While office staff members answer citizen questions regarding collection and landfill services, other staff members focus on grounds keeping, operating equipment, running the scales, and other responsibilities. 

The Roswell Municipal Landfill operates under rules and regulations from the New Mexico Administrative Code, New Mexico Environment Department and New Mexico Department of Agriculture (which regulates weights and scales). Landfills are more than piles of trash and waste – at the heart of the landfill system is proper and responsible disposal and storage of waste. Landfills as a whole can potentially leave large footprints, but by following the proper rules and regulations, Roswell’s landfill is responsibly storing waste as it biodegrades. 

Photo of employee compacting trash
Solid Waste employee works to compact trash in an active cell. 

As waste leaves your collection bin and makes its way to the landfill, it first goes across the scales to be weighed. The type of waste determines where it goes next. The different types of waste can end up in the clean fill pit (concrete, rocks, stucco, plaster, asphalt, adobe, bricks and other miscellaneous construction debris.), the brush pile (wood and brush), or the household hazard waste area. All other trash material will go into the “work face” of the landfill, which is certain commercial waste and all residential waste such as paper bags, food containers, biodegradable organic waste, furniture, toys, plastic containers, etc. 

Photo of clean fill pit
View of the clean fill pit. 

Each of these areas is made up of cells. Cells essentially are the spaces where trash is stored in the landfill. These cells are built on a 4-to-1 slope, meaning for every four units of horizontal distance there is one unit of vertical change either up or down. These cells must remain 100 feet above groundwater. As waste is placed in a cell, it has to be covered to comply with state regulations. The longevity of a cell depends on how the cell was designed (depth and height) and the amount of waste placed in the cell. Cells can be used anywhere from 10 to 50 years. 
In the State of New Mexico, landfills cannot be bigger than 500 acres. The Roswell Municipal Landfill is 394 acres. The Solid Waste Department estimates the Roswell Municipal Landfill has 90 to 100 years of use remaining.

 Photo of cell in use
Solid Waste employee works to cover waste in an active cell. 
Photo of a cell no longer in use
View of a cell no longer in use that has been covered. 

Besides proper disposal of waste, the Roswell Municipal Landfill and the Solid Waste Department offer other services. Those services include offering free wood chips to residents and a once-a-month free trash drop-off with a valid City of Roswell water bill. 
For any questions, problems or comments regarding trash service, landfill procedures and other solid waste issues, call (575) 624-6746.