Touring Our Dumps

It never seizes to amaze people how many landfills there are on the Southside of Chicago or that most of our city’s landfills were located here.  On November 2nd, Suhail Barot’s Sustainabilities Studies class joined SETF for a tour of landfills in our community.   The tour with a brief presentation in our office about landfilling on the Southside: the reasons, the locations, and the current status.

Our first stop was Waste Management’s Waste to Energy Plant where methane from their landfills is runs turbines that generate electricity.  Reuben Sanchez, an employee of Waste Management, graciously accommodates us and explains how the facility operates.  From there, we rode over to beautiful Beaubian Woods to catch a view of Land and Lake’s notorious Riverbend Landfill that was recently in the news when it was allowed to disconnect  from city.  Before Governor Quinn’s legislation prohibiting landfilling in Cook County, the intent was to sidestep the city’s current moratorium on landfilling in order to expand it.  The students could easily see the negative impact a landfill so close to the river and Beaubian woods could have.

From there we headed back east to see the re-purposed landfill known as Harborside
Golf course, unfortunately, it was closed for the season so we were only allowed a tiny glimpse of it through it’s gates.  From there we rode around Lake Calumet, passing the city’s auto pound, the infamous Paxton Landfills with their adjacent Superfund Cluster Sites and Land and Lakes’ composting facility atop the now defunct Haborview landfill.  All were surprised by the wetlands  interlaced between them. 

Using a PowerPoint presentation, Peggy gives a historical
explanation about the landfills they are about to see.

Historical photos are used to demonstrate how sites were filled
 in with trash.

At Waste Management’s Trash to Energy facility, employee Reuben
 Sanchez in the green jacket, explains the facilities operations.

One of the noisy turbines behind glass for viewing purposes.

Students view Land and Lake’s Riverbend Landfill across
the Cal Sag Channel.

SETF explains the current controversy involving the landfill.

Group photo with instructor
 Suhail Barot in forefront.

Land and Lakes Riverbend Landfill a viewed from Beaubien Woods.


Group aboard bus, finishing remainder of tour.

1 comment:
  • Land Source Container Service Inc.

    You can see it all the way from the fields, thats horrible. One day it will all be towering over us, not the good way either. The garbage needs to be disposed of on a more safe set of terms, agreed?

    -Land Source Container Service, Inc.
    Rubbish Removal