Landfill, setbacks, odor, noise, litter, house prices, complaints


Increasing urbanization in the US is leading to development or re-development of lands adjacent to solid waste facilities and these lands are being considered for residential communities and commercial projects. Thus, the potential for nuisance complaints against the pre-existing solid waste facility operations has become an increasing reality. The objective of this study was to develop a methodology to gather scientific and quantifiable data related to potential nuisances caused by landfills to determine setbacks and buffer zones near landfill and transfer station operations. Appropriate recommendations for these setbacks were made from case studies conducted at two landfills in Florida. The study involved making measurements related to odor, noise, litter and dust. Impact on housing prices was also evaluated by analyzing publicly available house price data. In this study volatile organic compound (VOC) concentration was used as a surrogate measure for gaseous impacts. The mass flux of VOCs was measured on the landfills using the dynamic flux chamber method. The ultimate purpose of flux measurements was to provide input data for dispersion modeling to analyze the extent of odor impact around the landfills, which is outside the scope of this study. Ambient measurements were also made around Landfill A for validating the dispersion model. Although there are no significant health and odor impacts caused by the landfill, higher background concentration extend 1.2-1.5 km from the landfill center on the Southeast side of the landfill. Litter from the road sides around the landfills was collected and catalogued based on size and material type. Litter count per site obtained for both landfills was less than the 2001 and 2002 state-wide counts. The difference was statistically significant. Noise measurements were made at landfills during incineration and landfilling. Based on average measurements (Leq) obtained at various distances from WTE facility and landfilling activity, and considering EPA recommended noise level of 55 dB(A) for a quiet neighborhood, a set back distance of 1.6-1.9 km was recommended. Impact on house prices near the landfills was done for four landfills in Florida. Analysis showed that three out of four landfills had significantly impacted the house price within 0.6-0.8 km from the edge of the landfill. Dust measurements were made at Landfill B using particulate samplers, quantifying the dust associated with landfilling. Measured values were below National Ambient Air quality Standard (NAAQ) for PM10. Finally, recommendations were developed to mitigate some of these nuisances


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Graduation Date





Reinhart, Debra


Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (M.S.Env.E.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Degree Program

Environmental Engineering








Release Date

December 2007

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)