Properly attended modern landfills do not typically pose a major threat to the environment. Landfills built to EPA standards should be lined and/or built on top of inert geologic formations and waste kept free from any nearby bodies of water by an impermeable membrane, should use some form of daily cover or other odor control and appearance management substitute, and should have a plan to ultimately cover, close down, and monitor each landfill cell as well as the landfill itself as it reaches its capacity. As a reasult of these measures and others such as gas control and renewable energy production therefrom, the potential for environmental harm from landfills is minimized.
However, in many cases, better ways exist to avoid landfilling waste or to at least maximize the diversion of discarded resources away from the landfill and maximize the life of the landfill facility. Doing so may involve up-front costs and investments that will ultimately save a municipality money, and a great deal of hassle in the long run. Building a solid waste disposal facility, recycling facility or energy recovery plant can be a long and arduous process, and failure to adequately plan for the needs of a major city can have dire consequences, as with the recurring solid waste problems in Naples.
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