Landfill Site Selection in Trinidad & Tobago

Topics: Landfill, Groundwater, Geographic information system Pages: 8 (2601 words) Published: February 2, 2013

Over the last thirty years the island of Trinidad has utilized four (4) major landfills for waste disposal: * Beetham Estate Landfill – located in North-West Trinidad, size of sixty-one (61) hectares, * Guanapo Landfill – located in North-east Trinidad, size of seven (7) hectares * Forres Park Landfill- located in Central Trinidad, size of eight (8) hectares * Guapo Landfill, located in South-West Trinidad

The largest of these landfills, the Beetham Estate Landfill, is located on a swamp-type terrain in Trinidad’s north-western peninsula and serves the corridor of Chaguaramas to Curepe and also just north of Chaguanas. The Beetham Estate Landfill is described as one that has long outlived its physical capacity and expected life on the allotted site. It has been established by the State that a replacement landfill site to the Beetham Estate Landfill is inevitably soon. The location of such a replacement site must be assessed carefully to ensure suitability and demand fulfillment. There are many existing methods used for determining the location and assessment of landfill sites involving time-consuming efforts, but within recent years the advancement in computer technology has enabled the process of finding a replacement site more efficient. New software may now be utilized to aid in site selection; such a system is a Geographic Information System (GIS). The Geographic Information System (GIS) requires the user to input relevant spatial and geographic data for the proposed site which can be processed, manipulated, analyzed and displayed to determine the site’s validity. It is this capability of a GIS that makes it useful for our purpose, establishing of suitable sites that can serve as a replacement site for the Beetham landfill. This assignment is focused on determining suitability of new landfill sites in Trinidad, particularly one that serves the needs of the north to north-western region of Trinidad and this analysis is driven by the use Geographic Information Systems (GIS).


The intent of this assignment focuses on the suitability of a proposed landfill location site within the north-western region of Trinidad. The following factors are deemed pertinent for determining the suitability for such use. a) Size of the site. A site chosen for waste disposal should be large enough to service its areas of demand. The existing Beetham landfill site has been in operation for over 30 years. A similar life span and corresponding area can be considered. A shorter life span would mean the added cost of setting up a new site in a shorter time frame. b) Buffer zone. The site chosen should include a buffer zone between the landfill and neighboring land. This barrier provides protection from direct seepage of leachate into the grounds of adjacent land and also provides an area that can be planted to serve as a visual shield of the site. It also adds a protection against fires which may occur at the site. c) Proximity to water courses. A site should not be located close to existing surface water courses. This reduces seepage of leachate into the water. The site should exist in an area where there is a deep water table, to reduce the likelihood of leachate contaminating groundwater. d) Topography. The site should not be hilly. Land should be relatively flat or undulating. e) Soil type. The soil of the site should not be porous. This reduces the likelihood of leachate moving quickly away from the site into neighboring areas. f) Weather. The site chosen should not be in an area that receives major rainfall. Excessive runoff may mix with waste liquids and possibly get into watercourses. Landfills usually have loose dirt which may be eroded by heavy rainfall. Strong winds may cause excessive dust and waste material to go airborne. g) Ground stability. Landfills should be located in areas where the land is stable. There should not be any fault...
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