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35.2 Capacity of the Cerro Colorado Landfill Consumed Per Year

This indicator measures the capacity of the Cerro Colorado landfill consumed per year based on data collected by the City of Albuquerque, owner and operator of the landfill.

This indicator is part of Integrated waste management.

Indicator description:

This indicator measures the capacity of the Cerro Colorado landfill (CCL) consumed per year based on data collected by the City of Albuquerque, owner and operator of the landfill. Landfill capacity consumed is determined annually from data provided by aerial surveys and GPS software to develop an updated topographic map for volumetric calculations. Cumulative airspace used at the end of the current year is compared to the cumulative airspace used in the prior year to arrive at current year airspace depletion. This indicator embodies the total waste stream including residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional solid wastes. Total waste also includes the University of New Mexico and Albuquerque Public Schools disposals to CCL, which operate their own waste collection systems, as well as disposals by Waste Management. For most southwestern cities, landfill and waste collection are operated by public and private sectors; therefore, comparisons are not available. Albuquerque is distinct in that its landfill is owned and operated by the local government and the majority of the waste to the landfill is from municipal collections.

Rollover and click the interactive graphs to make comparisons

Why is this indicator relevant?

When it opened in 1990, the life of Cerro Colorado was expected to be 80 years with a capacity level of 81,392,000 cubic yards. By producing less waste, and by recycling more materials instead of discarding them, a community can extend the life of its current landfills, and therefore postpone its need to locate and pay for expensive new landfills. The federal government has imposed restrictions associated with landfills by preventing disposal of hazardous materials, restricting disposal of liquid wastes and controlling air emissions. However, emissions from landfills to the atmosphere and the water environment still exist. Old, former landfills in Albuquerque have produced groundwater contamination and methane – a greenhouse gas. Siting new landfills is an increasing problem because of public opposition. The CCL is located 20 miles southwest of downtown Albuquerque and as trips to the landfill abound due to the increase of waste, a rise in transporting costs occurs.

 

Data Sources:
City of Albuquerque Solid Waste Management Department; International City County Management Association (ICMA), Comparative Performance Measurement Report; Environmental Protection Agency.

What can we tell from the data?

  • Since 2009, the Albuquerque trend in annual capacity consumption is desirable as landfill tonnage has declined.
  • Based on current consumption trends, the Cerro Colorado Landfill has a remaining landfill life of 65 years.
  • As of March 23, 2012, cumulative airspace of the landfill has been been depleted 26.3%.

 

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