Invited Session: Closing Dumpsites

Sustainable ET Landfill Covers: A Savannah Based Ecosystem Design (0.5 CEU)

Monday, September 25, 2017
15:30 – 16:00
Room 323

Moderator: Tracie Onstad-Bills, Northern California Director SMM, SCS Engineers, California

In 2005, the Hamm Sanitary Landfill concluded that maintaining a “lawn” of cool season grasses across 360 acres during a 30-year closure period would be very costly and time consuming to maintain with mowing, fertilizing and occasional irrigation needed. Based on this concern and the structural and maintenance concerns associated with a standard U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Subtitle D “composite” cover, an idea was spawned whereupon a less maintenance-intensive native prairie grass and tree islands sustainable cover design would be pursued. A sustainable low maintenance cap providing a refuge for wildlife habitat was a project goal. You can’t fight Mother Nature. Native vegetation will take over a closed landfill without extensive maintenance and upkeep. Why not plant what will end up on the cap from the beginning?

Participants will learn how to determine where alternative evapotranspiration (ET) caps are appropriate. A comparison of alternative caps vs prescriptive caps will be presented. We will examine cap thickness determination methods and compare seed bed soil selection criteria. We will evaluate which to plant first: grasses or trees and shrubs. We will discuss envisioning and designing the end result the landfill owner desires. A more natural looking landscape was the project’s goal.


Michael Kukuk, P.G., President, Blackstone Environmental, Inc., Kansas

Michael Kukuk

Michael Kukuk, P.G., is the Principal and founder of Blackstone Environmental, Inc., headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas. Mr. Kukuk has more than 30 years of experience in the environmental consulting field, focusing primarily on solid waste, hydrogeological and remedial design services. Mr. Kukuk’s technical focus has been on the development of alternative landfill covers in wet and dry climates, phyto-remediation, as well as leachate recirculation and bioreactor technologies at municipal solid waste landfills. Mr. Kukuk is a past president of the Kansas SWANA Sunflower Chapter and has served as an ITRC bioreactor instructor. Prior to forming Blackstone, Mr. Kukuk was one of the original founders of Aquaterra Environmental Solutions, Inc. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Kansas in Lawrence and a Master’s degree in environmental health science from the University of Kansas. Mr. Kukuk is a registered professional geologist in Kansas and Missouri.

Charlie Sedlock, Director, Hamm, Inc.

Charlie Sedlock

Charlie Sedlock is the director of Hamm, Inc., and his responsibilities include operations, compliance, business development and siting/permitting for Hamm's waste service and mining businesses in Eastern Kansas and Western Missouri. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Kansas and a Master of Business Administration from Thunderbird Graduate School.