Some of the equipment required to operate a landfill includes landfill compactors, track-type tractors and loaders, trucks for hauling waste, hydraulic excavators and wheel loaders. In some cases, landfill managers also keep all of the equipment needed to service this operational machinery on site. Landfill operators may use GPS technology to make the process of compacting waste material more efficient. GPS also enables drivers to accurately ascertain whether soil layers are adequately and evenly spread.
Landfill operators use heavy machinery to compact waste before spreading a layer of soil over the top and beginning a new layer of waste. Some landfills may apply a foam spray as a temporary cover for the waste before spreading the soil; others place a blanket over the top using a crane or excavator. Most landfill sites find compactors to be among the most necessary equipment. Operators drive these machines over the face of the landfill until the waste is optimally compacted.
Landfills may also have shredding equipment on site to shred dry waste, which makes it easier for the waste to break down in the landfill and increases the capacity of the site. Some operations use baling systems to compress the waste into large cubes, which can also save space in the landfill. Landfills that bale waste typically use forklifts for transport. Sorting equipment is sometimes used prior to dumping the waste to separate recyclable materials from other waste.
Strict environmental regulations, such as the Clean Air Act, require landfills to prevent contamination. Equipment such as collection systems and run-on control systems help keep the environment clean. Landfills can also reduce their environmental impact with methane headers, flare vents, drainage pipes and site-engineering software. Because of the potential for hazardous materials to ignite, landfills also have fire-fighting equipment on site.