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They're doing what to the hole in the ground? Part Two: High-Density Polyethylene

This article is part two in a four part series.

In Colerain Township, Rumpke is currently prepping a 14-acre section of its property for the disposal of Greater Cincinnati’s waste. As we learned in “They’re doing what to the hole in the ground? Part One: Clay,” there is a difference between a landfill and a dump. At Rumpke’s Colerain location, we are currently building a new landfill cell. However, before that cell can be filled with trash a liner system is put down to keep the surrounding environment safe. In part one you were shown the first layer of the liner, clay.

Now that the clay liner is complete, a second made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) is being installed.


High-density polyethylene is a fancy word for heavy duty plastic and is made out of the same material your detergent bottles come in. HDPE comes in large sheets like carpet and is laid out in small sections. Each liner is 60 mil thick and comes with a pre-molded micro spike finish for better traction when working or walking on the surface during construction.


When the sections are all added together a machine called a mouse, because it looks like a computer mouse, seals each layer to the ones surrounding it creating an impenetrable layer. The liners are double welded together with heat on the seams to seal them. Before being put down, each weld is pressure tested with air to ensure it meets the design specifications of the cell.

Like with the clay liner, several tests must be performed to the plastic liner to ensure its effectiveness. 

Watch for more updates this summer as we continue to build this highly-engineered structure.

About the Author: Jessica Darling is the summer 2016 corporate communications intern at Rumpke.

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