The City of Hartford opened the landfill on Leibert Road in the North Meadows for use as an open-burning dump in 1940.
In 1951, the Hartford Fire Department burned shacks erected on the landfill by “dump dwellers.”
Between 1953 and 1977 all waste produced in the City of Hartford was burned in the then-state-of-the-art Hartford incinerator. Byproducts from the burning were emitted into the air without any pollution controls. During this period the landfill received incinerator ash and bulky wastes.
The City of Hartford leased the landfill to the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA) in 1982. Until 1988, the landfill received raw municipal solid waste ( MSW), non-processible MSW and bulky waste.
From 1988 to 2008 the landfill was been used not for raw garbage but to receive ash from the CRRA Hartford trash-to-energy plant as well as assorted bulky and special wastes.
Since leasing the site from the city, CRRA has installed several environmental control systems at the landfill, all of which will function for a minimum of 30 years after the landfill is closed:
- A gas extraction and collection system in which 82 wells capture gas before it enters the air, decreasing odors, while using that gas to generate enough electricity to power 1, 500 to 2,000 homes.
- A groundwater collection and pumping system that captures and treats groundwater that may flow under the landfill.
- An ash-leachate collection system that collects and treats rain water percolating through the ash landfill.
- A groundwater monitoring program ensuring the area surrounding the landfill is safe and remains so.
CRRA also contracts with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to control nuisance birds in the area of the landfill.
The City of Hartford continues to own the North Meadows landfill.
As specified in CRRA’s revised closure plan, the landfill received its final delivery on Dec. 31, 2008. As part of the plan, CRRA is installing a state-of-the-art synthetic cap for the entire 80-acre landfill rather than the soil cap specified in DEP regulations. The synthetic cap, made of a thick plastic material, will mean there will be 90 percent less infiltration by rain water.
CRRA began installation of the final landfill cap in 2007, many months before the final delivery of waste.
One possibility for the landfill after it is closed is to develop it into parkland. This could include walking trails, a fitness course, wildlife habitat and panoramic views of Hartford, the surrounding hills and the Connecticut River.