A Crowded Landscape: Is There Room for Waste Management?


Time: Approximately 90 minutes

Materials: Computer with fast Internet connection, networked printer (optional)

Prerequisites: none

Implementation: This RWLO can be used either in the classroom or as an independent project.  It is initiated through a lecture or discussion of the requirements and issues involved in landfill siting followed by student Internet research.  Once a suitable GIS is selected, student research can be performed outside of class. 


1.  Discuss the regulatory requirements for and issues concerning siting new MSWLFs within a political boundary with your learners. 

- What Should I Know?

- Click below to view lists of considerations for siting new landfills developed by a group of learners in Ohio:

Federal regulatory requirements
Scientific issues
Socio-economic issues

2.  Introduce your learners to the construction and capabilities of GIS. 

- What Should I Know?  

- For more information on GIS software products, see Supplementary Resources:

3.  Introduce your learners to the existing GIS they will be using.  

- What Should I Know?

- Locate your county's GIS, an existing county GIS using an Internet search engine or choose one from the list below:

Contrast Between Mountains and Valleys in  Eastern Oregon - Clackamas County, Oregon http://www.co.clackamas.or.us/gis/ 
Gulf Coast Florida - Charlotte County, Florida http://www.ccgis.com/ 
Glaciated Northeastern Ohio - Geauga County, Ohio http://www.auditor.co.geauga.oh.us/ag/
Blue Ridge Country in Southwestern Virginia - Montgomery County, Virginia http://www.montva.com/departments/plan/gis/mapimage/mcmaps.php 
Fast-Growing Desert Communities Around Phoenix - Maricopa County, Arizona  http://planning.maricopa.gov/ 
Pacific Coasts and Forests in the Northwest - King County, Washington http://www.metrokc.gov/gis/mapportal/iMAP_main.htm 

- The most cohesive learning experience is probably best attained when all learners/teams use the same GIS (from the local area, perhaps).  It can be fun to see if more than one individual or team is drawn to the same location within the county or township.  However, you can feel comfortable assigning different GIS sites within your class and let discussion of the attributes of each possible landfill location vary with geographic location.

4.  Assign individual learners or teams responsibility over an area of a county. 

- Townships are a good choice. 

- Have them manipulate layers of the GIS and select possible landfill locations based on previously-discussed requirements and issues. 

5.  Allow them to print maps depicting their best locations.

6.  As a class, allow learners or teams to describe and justify the locations selected. 

- Discuss the pros and cons, risks, and trade-offs of each site. 

- Identify additional data needed to improve site selection.