Radiation Monitoring

All vehicles that carry waste to Alliance's working area pass across the landfill's scales where they are weighed and subjected to our radiation monitoring system. This system tells us if a load of waste contains any radioactive material. It provides an extra measure of safety for our employees and the environment.

What our monitors routinely detect are items discarded by people receiving radiological medical treatment, including adult diapers, tissues, papers and paper cups. We've also found kitty litter used by pets receiving this type of veterinary treatment. Alliance, in accord with state guidelines, is allowed to accept these wastes. Our monitors are so sensitive they have detected visitors who've recently received these types of medical treatments, including a site tour visitor who had recently undergone a CT Scan.

On occasion other types of radiation have been detected, including a radioactive medical needle that dated to the 1950s and a World War II-era aircraft gauge that was painted with glow-in-the-dark paint that was radioactive (something that wasn't uncommon years ago). When items like these are detected, they are either returned to their place or origin or placed in special packaging and shipped to an appropriate disposal site.

In 2000, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) adopted new regulations requiring landfills to monitor all incoming wastes for radioactivity, even residential trash from the curb. Pennsylvania was first in the nation to introduce these regulations as a precautionary principle, taking advantage of improvements in technology to detect sources of radiation. Alliance's radiation monitoring system was in place and operating several months before this regulation went into effect.

The system we use to prevent the disposal of radioactive material integrates a rigorous training program with advanced monitoring technology. It provides an additional measure of safety to ensure that only proper types of waste are accepted at Alliance Landfill.