The challenge of restoring the beneficial reuse of our filled lands

George Crombie
Director of Public Works
City of Nashua, New Hampshire
Member, APWA Solid Waste Management Committee

The skills required in the next decade to restore and manage the land that was once used for landfills will require public works officials to be on the cutting edge of the latest technology and applied knowledge. To prepare for this challenge, the APWA Solid Waste Management Committee will be presenting at the 2003 APWA International Public Works Congress and Exposition in San Diego, California, a Super Session on “Reclaiming our Landfills” and the unveiling of a new publication on the opportunities for restoring landfills. The Super Session and publication will feature top public works officials from around the country who will bring together a wealth of knowledge and applied knowledge in the opportunities and hurdles to restoring old landfills.

Land within communities throughout the country has become scarce. This land deficit has created a need to restore lands that were once used as landfills. Some may view these parcels as liabilities, but to the professional eye these sites are seen as tremendous opportunities to restore these liabilities into community assets and green space. Just think of your old landfill producing energy, a wildlife preserve, a sliding hill, golf course or baseball field where children can go to laugh and play.

The legacies of public works professionals in the future may not totally rely on building on new ground, but the ability to restore. This is why the Solid Waste Management Committee has made this topic a priority at this year’s conference. The challenges surrounding this mission will entail a working knowledge of risk assessment, funding mechanisms, social concerns, technical expertise, political demands, and environmental regulations.

If your community is in the process of closing a landfill, wanting to restore lands that have been filled on in the past, or wanting to work with a private developer to restore property, San Diego should be on your schedule next August.

Please come and join the Solid Waste Management Committee and participate in our Super Session. The knowledge you take back to your community will be invaluable in turning land that was once viewed as a liability into renewable resources.

To reach George Crombie, call (603) 589-3140 or send e-mail to