Landfills are frequently used to dispose of hazardous waste. Despite rules stating they are not allowed to it happens all of the time. Many times the hazardous waste is not detected and gets buried along with the regular garbage. The landfill operators are supposed to look to see what is being dumped but it really is not possible based on the quantity of trash disposed of every day. So the potential the landfill is being used for illegal disposal of hazardous wastes is much higher than the industry will ever acknowledge they are aware of.
Hazardous waste disposal at a landfill occurred again in North Carolina at the Transylvania county landfill. This time however it was not covered up but actually was used for the cover material for the landfill itself. It seems lead contaminated soil with lead levels over 25 time the limit to classify the soil as hazardous waste was disposed at the landfill instead of at a hazardous waste disposal facility. The individual responsible for allowing the movement of the soil and the dumping of it faces 12 years of prison and hopefully will receive some of it. The people surrounding the landfill are in danger from the lead in the soil being blown off the landfill into the surrounding areas. They could be breathing lead unknowingly at tremendous levels. If there are wells nearby either private or public water supplies wells they could be jeopardized as the poisons eventually work through the landfill and leak into the water below.
Illegal disposal of hazardous waste at landfills happens due to the tremendous costs of disposing the waste at a properly designated facility. Once the wastes are dumped there is very little that can be done to remove the substances. In this instance the landfill operators are claiming they have no recollection of the exact areas where the highly contaminated soil was used as cover. Unfortunately now there is no recourse other than to pursue charges against those involved in the dumping and hope to set an example for others to see.