Solid Waste Operations

132 Hours / 12 Months / Self-Paced

Course Overview:

Using the Internet this course will provide the student with a comprehensive look at solid waste management; combining the aspects of landfill, composting and household hazardous waste operations. This class will meet or exceed requirements for the educational components of certification and/or licensing required for solid waste professionals.

Course Outline:

Module 1: Landfill Operations
Lesson 1 – Waste Composition
  • Explain the process of waste decomposition, list factors that limit the decomposition rate, and list decomposition byproducts.
  • Explain the process of decomposition and its limiting factors.
  • List the products of the decomposition process.
  • Describe the typical composition of landfill gas.
  • Describe potential problems created by landfill gas and methods to control landfill gas.
  • Explain the general trend in oxygen, methane, nitrogen, and oxygen concentrations in landfill gas.
  • Describe the characteristics of landfill gas.
  • List the monitoring requirements for landfill gas and the active and passive gas collection systems.
  • Describe the methods of controlling leachate: prevention and collection systems.
  • Explain the treatment options available and monitoring requirements.
Lesson 2 – Geology & Hydrology
  • Explain what is meant by geology, hydrogeology, and hydrology.
  • List the three classifications of rock and describe how they are formed.
  • List the soil types, including clay, silt and sand, and their characteristics.
  • Describe the hydrologic cycle.
  • Explain surface water and erosion control methods.
  • Define groundwater and explain the potential impact that landfills may have on groundwater.
  • Identify the federal regulations for groundwater monitoring, the typical design of a groundwater monitoring well, and groundwater sampling.
Lesson 3 – Engineering
  • Describe the role of engineering and an engineer relative to the permitting and operations of a landfill.
  • Describe the basic tools used in engineering a landfill.
  • Explain the difference between required engineering and operations support engineering.
  • Explain the many different maps and plans that may be required to acquire and maintain a permit.
  • List and describe the basic categories of plans, reports, and maps relative to a landfill.
  • Explain the conventions used to understand and work with the data represented in plans, reports, and maps.
  • List and describe the primary applications of maps and plans.
  • List and describe the procedures used to determine if a landfill needs engineering, what specifically the engineering is needed for, and how the landfill can find and develop a good relationship with an engineer.
  • Explain how to determine the landfill's needs relative to siting a landfill and acquiring and maintaining a permit.
  • Describe how to ask for and evaluate the qualifications of outside engineering
Lesson 4 – Surveying
  • Explain the various types of surveying techniques.
  • Perform basic mathematical and survey calculations.
  • Describe the various survey applications utilized by a landfill.
  • Explain how surveying develops accurate maps and helps landfills manage airspace effectively.
  • List five important survey systems and determine each of their applications for a landfill operation.
  • Describe an advantage of GPS surveying and its potential application at a landfill.
  • Explain the purpose of aerial surveying and its application at a landfill.
  • List total station surveying equipment and explain how to read a target rod.
  • Calculate area and volume.
  • Calculate slope, distance, area, and volume for selected geometric shapes.
  • List the five primary measurements used by surveyors.
  • Explain how to write surveying notes.
Lesson 5 – Landfill Design
  • Explain the different tasks required to plan and prepare a good landfill design.
  • Describe the principles and define the terminology pertinent to landfill design.
  • Describe the issues and concerns of siting a landfill.
  • Explain the benefit and objectives of planning the siting process.
  • Explain the role of public involvement in the siting process.
  • Explain the process and criteria for deciding on a new location for a landfill.
  • List the many possible design decisions available to each landfill component.
  • List and describe the different types of liners and the design considerations for each.
  • List and describe different gas and leachate collection systems available to a landfill
  • Describe the design elements associated with a leachate storage system.
  • Explain the components and design considerations of a gas and leachate monitoring system.
  • Explain the components and design considerations of a final cap.
  • Describe the considerations necessary to provide a complete landfill design.
  • List the steps involved to place and design a landfill cell given the regulatory and physical restrictions a design may encounter.
  • Describe the varying support systems included in a landfill design and the design considerations given to each system.
  • Explain the significance of each design element relative to the economics of constructing the final design.
Lesson 6 – Landfill Construction
  • Explain the need for ongoing landfill construction.
  • Explain the basic techniques used in landfill construction.
  • Describe the steps involved in contracting from document preparation through the bid opening.
  • Explain the procedures involved in contracting a landfill construction project from the bid opening through the initiation of construction after completing this topic.
  • Describe the task and procedures involved in a successful landfill construction project.
  • Describe the construction process relative to liner construction.
  • Describe the process involved in constructing a collection system.
  • List the construction procedures necessary to construct a final cap.
  • Explain the process for preparation and implementation of a construction Quality Assurance Plan.
  • List areas that can become a problem during landfill construction if ignored or mishandled.
Lesson 7 – Landfill Operations
  • Explain the various facets of landfill operation including equipment needs, construction methods, soil excavation, cover alternatives, and waste screening.
  • Identify various heavy equipment utilized in a landfill.
  • List and describe methods to construct daily cells including methods to estimate the size of a daily cell.
  • Describe the options for daily cover of a landfill cell.
  • List the purposes for implementing a waste screening program.
  • List essential elements to include in a waste screening program, including load inspections, documentation, training, and procedures.
  • Describe the elements of a successful equipment maintenance program.
  • Describe methods for improving customer service.
Lesson 8 – Regulations
  • List and describe the differences between related federal Acts.
  • Identify the components of five federal Acts and describe their impact on landfill operations.
  • Identify key components of a landfill permit including sampling requirements, reporting requirements, and material handling requirements and identify how, landfill expansions, new landfill siting, and landfill closures affect permits. You should also understand the purpose of financial assurance and how landfill operations impact financial assurance obligations.
  • Identify the key components of a landfill permit including sampling requirements, reporting requirements, material handling requirements, and expansion/siting requirements. Additionally, you should be able to identify other permits and contracts that might be required for the management of leachate, landfill gas, stormwater, engineering services and specialized field services.
  • Identify how landfill expansions, new landfill siting, and landfill closures affect permits.
  • Explain the purpose of financial assurance and how landfill operations impact financial assurance obligations.
  • Identify services for which a landfill operation may contract and other services requiring a permit including leachate management and landfill gas management.
  • Describe handling requirements for petroleum contaminated soils and asbestos. You should also be familiar with banned materials.
  • Explain the difference between banned materials and universal wastes.
Module 2: Composting Operations
Lesson 1 – Science of Composting
  • Understand that composting is very similar to farming and that, like farming, there are specific environmental conditions that lead to success.
  • Identify the primary organisms responsible for organic decomposition and describe the
  • environment they thrive in.
  • Describe the chemical parameters of composting and where each parameter is at its
  • optimum.
  • Describe the physical parameters of composting and where each parameter is at its
  • optimum.
Lesson 2 – Composting Processes
  • Describe the numerous composting processes and explain how these processes can vary depending on the type and quantity of waste to be composted. Describe how waste or compost feedstock should be properly prepared, depending on the composting process, in order to reach optimum composting conditions.
  • List the variety of physical and chemical adjustments that can be made to the feedstock prior to beginning the composting process.
  • Identify the operating parameters associated with the rapid decomposition phase.
  • List the high, low, and optimum range for each of the parameters.
  • Identify the process and benefits of properly curing compost.
  • Identify the processes and benefits of compost refining.
  • List the multiple end users for the compost.
  • Describe the various end uses for the compost and the different degrees of refining for each.
Lesson 3 – Feedstock & Compost Technologies
  • Understand its waste source and matches the best composting technology to the waste source.
  • List the distinctive categories of potential compost feedstock and understand some of the concerns associated with each category.
  • List the primary categories of composting technologies and the advantages and disadvantages with each.
Lesson 4 – Compost Quality & Classification
  • Explain why there is currently a lack of standards classifications and regulations that govern the compost industry.
  • Identify the different compost qualities and the ranges that make for a quality product.
  • Identify the different methods used to test compost.
  • Explain the basic element of a compost quality assurance program.
Lesson 5 – Facility Development
  • Explain how the design and process complexity of a compost facility is relative to the type and quantity of feedstock it handles.
  • Explain why siting a compost facility, like siting any waste facility, is a complex, controversial, and very important part of developing a facility.
  • Identify the basic components of a complete facility design.
  • Explain why there may be both state and local requirements for permitting a compost facility.
  • Explain the basic requirements for operating a composting facility.
Lesson 6 – Environmental Concerns & Control
  • Describe many of the primary causes of odor and some of their controls.
  • Identify areas of concerns for water quality at a compost facility and some of the controls.
  • Identify areas of concern for air quality and some of the controls practiced to protect air quality at a compost facility.
  • Identify some of the causes and controls for noise pollution at a compost facility.
  • Identify some of the causes and controls for managing vectors and pests at a compost facility.
Lesson 7 – Compost Regulations
  • Understand that there are currently no federal standards governing compost unless biosolids are used.
  • Understand that though there are no federal standards that directly govern compost and/or the composting process, there are environmental laws that may govern aspects of composting.
  • Understand that many states have developed compost or composting standards through their solid waste agency.
Lesson 8 – State Programs
  • Determine and describe the two different types of composting facilities.
  • Determine and explain the regulations and operation requirements for all composting Facilities.
Module 3: Household Hazardous Waste
Lesson 1 – Regulations Overview
  • Recognize OSHA and EPA standards that apply to work on hazardous waste sites.
  • Identify provisions of 29 CFR 1910.120 applicable to waste site work.
  • Describe the purpose and content of the employer's general safety and health program.
  • Identify relevant portions of a complete site-specific safety and health plan, to include, but not be limited to:
    • Contact personnel and alternates for site safety and health;
    • Safety, health, and other hazards present on a given site;
    • Personal protective equipment requirements;
    • Engineering controls and equipment safety;
  • Medical surveillance technique requirements, including recognition of symptoms and signs that might indicate overexposure to hazards;
  • An emergency response plan meeting the requirements for safe and effective responses to emergencies, including all necessary equipment;
    • Confined space entry procedures;
    • A spill containment program; and
    • Decontamination procedures.
Lesson 2 – Chemical Awareness
  • List the primary health hazards associated with acids and bases.
  • Describe the basic treatment for skin and eye exposure to chemicals.
  • List the acute effects of solvent exposure.
  • Identify potentially hazardous outcomes of chemical incompatibility.
  • Describe the significance of the following terms:
    • Corrosive
    • Oxidizer
    • Reactivity
    • pH
    • Vapor Density
    • Vapor Pressure
    • Specific Gravity
Lesson 3 – Toxicology
  • List the four main routes for toxic substances to enter into the body.
  • Identify procedures to protect oneself from toxins.
  • Differentiate between the ‘acute” and “chronic” responses of exposure to toxic substances.
  • State the importance of the following terms:
    • Toxic Dose /LD100
    • Toxic Dose/LC50
    • Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL)
    • Threshold Limit Value (TLV)
    • Time-Weighted Average (TWA)
    • Short-Term Exposure Limit (STEL)
    • Ceiling Limit (C)
    • Immediate Danger to Life and Health (IDLH)
    • Routes of Entry
    • Acute and Chronic exposure
  • List the factors affecting human response to toxic chemicals.
Lesson 4 – Operational Hazards
  • Describe specific hazards posed by working in a Regional Collection Center.
  • List the definitions for hazard, safety, and risk.
  • Describe a model for hazard recognition.
  • Identify measures that can be taken to recognize and prevent injury from the following hazards:
    • Noise
    • Electrical
    • Site and equipment
    • Heat Stress
    • Cold Exposure
    • Biological
    • Blood borne pathogens
Lesson 5 – Hazard Identification
  • Describe the NFPA 704 sign.
  • Identify the numbers used in the NFPA numbering system.
  • Identify the nine hazard classes under the DOT labels.
  • Explain the importance of MSDS.
  • Utilize the North American Emergency Response Guidebook to gather information on a selected chemical.
Lesson 6 – Respiratory Protection & PPE
  • List the main categories of respirators.
  • Compare the advantages and disadvantages of a full-facepiece mask vs. a half-facepiece mask for air-purifying respirators.
  • Describe reasons for poor respirator fit.
  • List components of a respirator program as required by OSHA.
  • List limitations associated with major types of respirators.
Lesson 7 – Decontamination
  • Identify Standard Operating Procedures for minimizing worker contact with waste and maximizing work protection.
  • List the four types of decontamination methods.
  • Describe three of the chemical decontamination procedures
  • Identify and describe procedures for emergency decontamination.
  • Describe the general rule of PPE for decontamination workers.
  • Identify priorities when planning for decontamination in medical emergencies.
Lesson 8 – Waste Management
  • List the seven steps in a waste management process
  • List the main classes of hazardous materials and how they should be sorted and stored
  • Identify the proper selection, marking/labeling, and handling of containers of hazardous waste
Lesson 9 – Emergency Procedures
  • Describe the elements of an effective emergency contingency / spill response plan.
  • Identify guidelines for establishing safe evacuation routes and procedures.
  • Describe the importance of a Site Control Log that is located at the access checkpoints.
  • Identify what can be done to limit the number of spills on site.
  • State the importance of not participating in a spill response if training or equipment is inadequate.
  • Outline the steps to follow during an emergency response.
  • Identify key elements of an emergency response plan.

All necessary materials are included.


System Requirements:

Internet Connectivity Requirements:
  • Cable and DSL internet connections are recommended.

Hardware Requirements:
  • Minimum Pentium 400 Mhz CPU or G3 Macintosh. 1 GHz or greater CPU recommended.
  • 256MB RAM minimum. 1 GB RAM recommended.
  • 800x600 video resolution minimum. 1025x768 recommended.
  • Speakers/Headphones to listen to Dialogue steaming audio sessions.
  • A microphone to speak in Dialogue streaming audio sessions.
Operating System Requirements:
  • Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 9, 10
  • Mac OSX 10 or higher.
  • OpenSUSE Linux 9.2 or higher.
Web Browser Requirements:
  • Google Chrome is recommended.
  • Firefox 13.x or greater.
  • Internet Explorer 6.x or greater.
  • Safari 3.2.2 or greater.
Software Requirements:
  • Adobe Flash Player 6 or greater.
  • Oracle Java 7 or greater.
  • Adobe Reader 7 or greater.
Web Browser Settings:
  • Accept Cookies
  • Disable Pop-up Blocker.


**Outlines are subject to change, as courses and materials are updated.**