This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Analysis of the Municipal Solid Waste Permitting and Recycling Programs of the State of Alabama




Kearley, Jacob

Type of Degree



Civil Engineering


In the past half century solid waste policy has changed significantly as public awareness and the realization of potential environmental hazards of landfills has grown. The State of Alabama has recently begun to experience major regionalization of landfills due to these changes in solid waste policies. The recent influx of large regional solid waste facilities has been the cause of much public concern which has brought into question the fairness and adequacy of parts of Alabama’s landfill permitting process. An open dialog was shared with the public at 13 meetings throughout Alabama to critique the process and gather public input. In addition, surveys, a case study and the landfill permitting processes of other states were also analyzed to identify shortcomings and propose improvements to the process. The findings of this study suggest several advantages and disadvantages to Alabama’s current landfill permitting process and propose three relatively straightforward changes that, if made, will establish the fairness and procedural adequacy sought by the public and landfill owners alike. Also, in order to establish a baseline to further understand the extent to which waste is diverted from landfills, a focused study was done on the Grove Hill subdivision of Auburn, AL. Surveys were used to evaluate the effectiveness of Auburn’s curbside recycling program. This study also suggests the general attitude toward recycling is very good; however, actual recycling behavior may be lacking.