Recently, students at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse had the opportunity to supplement their classroom curriculum with a visit to the Seneca Meadows landfill and recycling facilities. These Environmental Resources Engineering students were taking a Solid Waste Engineering class with Associate Professor Doug Daley, and were able to see firsthand how the landfill operates and works to generate renewable energy through the collection of landfill gas.
During their visit, the students learned about the “build as they go” approach taken by Seneca Meadows, which involves the installation of horizontal gas collectors. They also saw how these collectors are placed under vacuum to capture and minimize the release of odor-generating gases. The students were able to meet some of the field team responsible for monitoring and adjusting the landfill gas collection system, which is designed to maximize collection efficiency and ensure compliance with regulations at the local, state, and federal levels.
According to Professor Daley, field experiences like this are an essential part of the education provided at SUNY ESF. “The visit to Seneca Meadows Landfill is a highlight of my course,” he said. “My students are able to experience the full magnitude of the engineered systems that are needed to manage society’s wastes.” He added that the visit allowed the students to see the scope of modern landfill management practices, including radiation controls, cover systems, and environmental controls for stormwater, leachate, and landfill gas emissions. Additionally, the students were surprised to learn about the falcon program in place at the landfill, which uses natural predators to keep seagulls away.
Overall, the visit to the Seneca Meadows landfill provided a valuable real-world learning experience for the Environmental Resources Engineering students at SUNY ESF. “Experiencing the scope of modern landfill management practices… enhances their preparation for their professional careers,” said Professor Daley.
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