Springhill Landfill Receives International Wildlife Award

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Each year, Americans generate millions of tons of trash, which disappear into landfills.

These sites are typically known for their mounds of garbage.

However, the Springhill Landfill is making a different kind of name for itself.

"In the past, I think people thought of a landfill as a big hole that was dug into the ground and you put your garbage in it and cover it up. Well that's not acceptable because we have to protect our groundwater," says Operations Manager Jeff Massey.

The Wildlife Habitat Council certified the landfill as one of 200 sites in the United States, which promotes and enhances the quality of wildlife.

Alligators, birds, and other wildlife make their homes on over 700-acres of land there, much of it left in its natural state.

Two boardwalks are made of recycled, plastic line wetlands on one side of the landfill for visitors to identify plant-life.

On top of that they're using trash to make electricity through the landfill's green power plant.

"What the plant does is it sucks the gas from the landfill, converts it to electricity and the electricity is then piped to lines that go back to Highway 2. We've got enough gas to feed about 3,000 homes," says Waste Management District Manager Achaya Kelapanda.

And, through it all, they're hoping to shed a new light on the business.

"We feel like we're changing the image of landfills," said Massey.

Springhill Landfill recently bought an additional 200 acres of land.

Landfill officials are working with the school system, writing a specific curriculum for students to study the wildlife.