Lee's Summit Landfill

Lee's Summit Landfill

Location: Lee's Summit, Mo.

Client: City of Lee's Summit

Burns & McDonnell has provided many consulting and engineering services to the City of Lee’s Summit, Mo., since 1981. These services have ranged from initial permitting and design of the original 200-ton-per-day landfill through all facets of a redesigned Subtitle D landfill.

In 1993, Burns & McDonnell permitted and designed the city’s horizontal and vertical expansion that incorporated a composite liner system into the existing landfill. This successful project provided the additional volume necessary to handle the city’s growing waste flow. Additional permitting and design projects were completed to address such issues as groundwater monitoring, gas monitoring, leachate management and various operational issues.

Burns & McDonnell also permitted the first yard waste composting facility in the State of Missouri at the city’s landfill site. The composting facility provides the city with a means for diverting waste from the landfill and ultimately the means for complying with Missouri’s yard waste ban. The facility received a commendation from the State of Missouri in 1993 and has since been the subject of numerous environmental tours.

Permitting & Design

In 1981, Burns & McDonnell designed a 200-ton-per-day sanitary landfill for the city. The landfill was originally designed to have a 20-year life, but due to the rapid increase in population and the acceptance of non-city waste, Burns & McDonnell was retained to review the city's existing solid waste operations and suggest alternatives.

Several years later, through a survey of the existing waste collection and disposal practices, Burns & McDonnell determined that city waste was accounting for approximately 40 percent of the waste received at the site. In addition, the city's population had increased so rapidly that the projected population for the year 2000 would be reached in 1990. The effects of these factors reduced the life of the facility by 10 years.

Burns & McDonnell evaluated three alternatives for landfill expansion: reduce the waste stream, begin curbside and drop-off center recycling and yard waste composting, or use waste-to-energy alternatives. The project team worked closely with the city's professional staff and the Solid Waste Committee to review the financial, institutional and legal impacts of the evaluations and propose recommendations for future actions. The expansion of the city's sanitary landfill was identified as the lowest cost alternative.

Major issues associated with the expansion of the landfill were investigated, including geotechnical investigations of the expansion areas and potential environmental impacts. The preferred landfill option was a combination vertical and horizontal expansion. Facilities for drop-off recycling and yard waste composting were included in the design and were expected to expand into curbside recycling and centralized composting as participation increased.

Burns & McDonnell prepared the landfill operating permit application and associated engineering drawings to expand the existing landfill life by approximately 20 years. Features of the expansion included an impermeable membrane liner, leachate collection, treatment and disposal, gas collection, and storm water management modifications. Burns & McDonnell has provided oversight and training for the landfill operations since 1982.

Yard Waste Composting

As part of a waste reduction program to reduce the amount of solid waste being landfilled, Burns & McDonnell was hired to design and prepare a permit application for a yard waste composting facility. The development of a composting program will increase the life of the sanitary landfill by diverting incoming yard waste material and provide a compost material for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. This facility was the first yard waste compost operation to be issued a construction permit by the Missouri Waste Control Coalition (MWCC) Award for Outstanding Achievement in Waste Management in the Area of Recycling and Resource Recovery. The facility provides for the disposal of approximately 6,000 tons of waste material per year.

The composting operation utilized a portable wood waste tub grinder in which the incoming yard waste is shredded and mixed together. The tub grinder minimizes particle size, reduces yard waste volume and accelerates the composting process. A medium-technology window composting method is used for the aerobic decomposition of the shredded waste.

Burns & McDonnell provided the design for an extensive surface water runoff system to control runoff  from the active compost area. A National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater discharge permit was prepared, which discussed the collection, treatment and discharge of the contaminated runoff. Nationwide investigations of yard waste compost runoff were evaluated to assess the impacts of municipal yard waste composting on soil and water.

Burns & McDonnell prepared engineering drawings to develop the stormwater runoff system, including sedimentation and holding ponds, hydraulic structures and compost site surfacing. Operational procedures for the hydraulic structures and stormwater basins were provided to the city to ensure continuous operation.


Burns & McDonnell performed the initial subtitle D hydrogeologic investigation for the city’s landfill, and has provided services for all subsequent investigations and field work were at the site. The groundwater and gas monitoring systems were designed to meet Subtitle D regulatory standards and have been modified, as necessary, over the course of the landfill’s life. Soil borrow areas were investigated and characterized by Burns & McDonnell to provide the appropriate volumes for use during soil liner construction, daily operations and final cap construction.

Compliance Monitoring - Groundwater

Burns & McDonnell developed groundwater monitoring plans for the Lee's Summit Sanitary Landfill. The groundwater monitoring plans summarize the hydrogeologic information at the site, and provide direction for the field sampling, laboratory analysis, reporting, data validation and statistical analysis. The plans were developed in response to requirements of Subtitle D of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Burns & McDonnell also provides semiannual groundwater monitoring services for the City of Lee's Summit Sanitary Landfill. A team of professionals experienced in groundwater issues combine their efforts to complete the variety of tasks associated with routine groundwater monitoring. These tasks include field sampling, laboratory data validation, statistical analysis and reporting.

Compliance Monitoring - Gas

Burns & McDonnell provided the permitting, design and construction oversight for the city’s landfill gas monitoring system. The system consists of nine gas monitoring probes located at the southern and western boundaries of the landfill. The probes are monitored on a quarterly basis to comply with Missouri solid waste regulations. Construction of the probes was completed under the supervision of one of Burns & McDonnell’s registered geologists.

In addition to the monitoring system design, Burns & McDonnell prepared a Gas Monitoring Plan for the City. The plan describes the design of the monitoring system and the rationale for probe placement. It also outlines the standard procedures for conducting quarterly gas monitoring activities and for reporting results to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). Burns & McDonnell field personnel have also provided gas monitoring services to the city.

Construction Services

Burns & McDonnell provided complete on-site construction supervision and quality assurance during the construction of Subtitle D cells 1, 2 and 3 at the landfill. In addition to preparing the bid specifications and drawings, Burns & McDonnell prepared a Construction Quality Assurance (CQA) Plan that was approved by the MDNR. During liner construction, the field personnel followed the procedures, documentation and other quality assurance measures that were outlined in the plan prior to certifying the liner to the MDNR.


As part of the initial permit application report and subsequent modifications, Burns & McDonnell prepared closure and post-closure plans for the Lee’s Summit Sanitary Landfill. Burns & McDonnell prepares annual closure and post-closure updates for the city as required by the MDNR.