Progressing in the Pandemic With Landfill Operations

Today’s municipal solid waste landfills are engineering marvels, and the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill is no exception. The landfill was built in 1984 and is a highly sophisticated facility designed for the safe disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) – more commonly known as household trash – in a way that protects the environment and public health. As the final destination for anything that is not reused, recycled or composted, 1 million tons of waste arrives at the County Landfill every year.

SWACO manages the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill, a publicly owned entity that serves 41 communities in Central Ohio, including all of Franklin County and a few neighboring areas. SWACO is committed to managing this valuable community asset in the most transparent, sustainable, environmentally friendly and fiscally responsible manner possible.

1Million tons of waste arrives at the County Landfill every year

Summary of COVID’s Impacts on the Waste Stream

Over the last few years, the amount of waste has fluctuated. In 2020, waste receipts were down approximately 3% due to the pandemic. However, more than a million tons of waste is processed by the landfill annually.

Franklin County Sanitary Landfill Tonnages:

  • 2020 – 1,199,861 tons of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Received
  • 2019 – 1,232,247 tons of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Received

While more residential waste was being picked up during the pandemic, with many of the landfill’s larger customers – like schools, businesses and restaurants – closed, the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill saw a reduction in the amount of waste coming to the landfill.

Front Line Employee Efforts to Respond to Pandemic and Manage the Landfill Material

Throughout the last year, SWACO’s team remained hard at work, with most staff reporting in-person to ensure the landfill remained open to accept the community’s waste.

The team was cross-trained to prepare for potential leaves of absence caused by COVID-19. Thankfully, this never became an issue, and operations remained unaffected by the virus.

Customer Service Improvements at the Landfill

Customer service and safety are top priorities at Franklin County Sanitary Landfill. Every day, we welcome nearly 500 trucks into the landfill. Our customers include local residents, big and small waste hauling companies and just about anyone in Franklin County.

In 2020, we separated the large waste haulers from the small haulers and residents to provide a safer experience for our customers entering and leaving the landfill.

Last year we also made several improvements at Franklin County Sanitary Landfill to keep traffic moving and costs unchanged to help those customers.

New Scale House

Efficiently Facilitating Landfill Traffic
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All trucks are weighed when they enter and leave the landfill to track tonnages. In 2020, SWACO added a fourth scale to help expedite landfill traffic and get the trucks back on the road quickly to serve residents and businesses more quickly with their waste hauling services.

New Scale System

Improving Service with Advanced Software
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SWACO also added new software to help process transactions more quickly and reduce customer wait times. The new software is more reliable and needs less servicing (i.e., less downtime) than the older, previously used system.

Community Improvements

Most people don’t want a landfill as their next door neighbor. We get it, and that’s why we’re always working to be the best neighbor and community partner that we can be.

Young Road Improvements

Upgrading Roads With Longer-Lasting Concrete
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SWACO also upgraded portions of Young Road, which runs along the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill. Asphalt was replaced with longer-lasting concrete. This run is used frequently by area residents and law enforcement traveling to and from the Sheriff’s training academy.

Wheel Wash

Protecting the Environment and Motorists from Potential Hazards
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When the landfill is muddy, the garbage trucks get dirty — really dirty.  We know our neighbors don’t want roads covered with mud and debris, so we operate a state-of-the-art wheel wash that all trucks must use in wet, muddy conditions. The automated system cleans the wheels of vehicles exiting the landfill, protecting the environment and motorists from potential hazards.

Litter Removal

2,840 Pounds of Roadway Litter were Removed in the First 3 months of 2021
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SWACO employees regularly remove litter along several roadways in Jackson Township and along a stretch of I-71 & ST RT 665 to ensure they’re clean and safe for travel. While not required to do this, SWACO provides this service to the local community because we understand the perceptions many have about the landfill.

Take the Mystery Out of the Landfill

Did you know that the landfill uses shredded up car parts like seats and dashboards to cover your household tires? Get to know your local landfill, owned and operated by SWACO. Take a virtual tour or read our brochure to see how it’s sized, how it’s constructed by engineers to protect public and environmental health, and learn about all the neat and innovative things your local landfill does!


Reducing Waste and Improving Recycling

In communities around Central Ohio, we are continuing to reduce waste and recycle right. Learn more about the progress we’ve made in the past year. Highlights include new residential recycling achievements, contactless drop-off programs and commercial recycling resources.