ISWM Operations

Below is a narrative that will provide an overview of our operations at the ISWM Department. To follow along, you may want to download the facility map located under the Useful Documents section located at the bottom right of our website.  


The Bourne landfill, at its present location on MacArthur Boulevard, began in 1967 in an area which is now known as Phases 1A, 1B, 1C, located immediately on the left as you drive into the facility. This unlined area ceased accepting waste in 1999 and is now closed and capped. In addition to a cap, it also has a network of gas extraction wells that capture landfill gas that is then piped to a flare located in the northeast corner of the site. The purpose of the flare is to burn landfill gas that might otherwise be vented into the atmosphere. This serves to reduce air emissions, control odors, and prevent off-site migration. All future capped areas will have a similar network.

Phase 2, the first lined landfill cell, began receiving non-MSW in 1999. Located in the far northeast corner of the facility, Phase 2 has been capped and in no longer active. As with Phase 2, and all future landfill cells, precipitation that falls on the landfill and trickles through the waste, otherwise known as leachate, is collected in special pipes under the waste and is pumped to holding tanks. This liquid is then sent off-site for proper disposal.

Adjacent to Phase 2 is Phase 3 that is also a lined landfill cell like Phase 2, but it has additional layers of protection and a leak detection system. All future landfill cells will consist of this “double composite liner” design. Bourne’s landfill was one of the first facilities in Massachusetts to install this state-of-the-art liner system. Phase 3 has also been capped, along with a valley-fill called Phase 2A/3A which connected Phases 1A, 1B, 1C to Phase 2 and Phase 3. It was in Phase 2A/3A that, beginning in 2005, ISWM started accepting municipal solid waste or household trash, once again. This is also known as MSW.

Phase 4 is the current area of landfilling located next to the scale and is located in the space previously occupied by Phase 1D. Phase 1D was one of the original unlined areas of landfilling at the site dating back to the early 1970s. Rather than cap it in place, ISWM worked with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop a plan to remove the waste and line the resulting void. Phase 4 is broken into two stages with Stage 1 nearing completion in the fall of 2014 at which time operations will move to Stage 2.

Beginning in January 2015, in accordance with a long-term contract, ISWM will fill all future phases with approximately 85% municipal waste combustor ash from the SEMASS waste-to-energy facility in Rochester, MA that is owned and operated by Covanta Energy. The remaining waste will consist of the Town’s own MSW, MSW from the Town of Falmouth, under a contract, and various other approved wastestreams from independent customers.

Currently, ISWM staff is developing a phasing plan for the landfill beyond Phase 4. Future filling will occur in a small area at the entrance known as Phase 5, which would be on top of the old Phases 1A, 1B, 1C and Phase 6,which will be under where the original DPW buildings and current office trailers are located at the southern end of the old landfill parcel. The DPW operations will move off-site in 2015 and ISWM will relocate its offices to the south.

After the landfill closes it will be monitored and maintained for at least 30 years utilizing a pre-established post-closure fund required by DEP regulations. ISWM also has an environmental pollution liability insurance policy with $3,000,000 of coverage. To ensure compliance, Barnstable County personnel take quarterly groundwater, surfacewater and leachate samples. The test results are then submitted to both DEP and BOH. Finally, ISWM staff regularly monitors landfill gas probes and the gas flare.

Other Operations

ISWM also operates residential recycling center located at the far end of the site on a 25-acre parcel that the Town acquired in 2001. This area is open seven days per week in the summer. This is where residents manage their recyclable, bulky items, construction and demolition (C&D) material and organic materials. ISWM manages its compost operations in this area as well.

Just to the east of the recycling center is the baler building where ISWM has a high-speed baler that it uses to process recyclables from residents and businesses. Baled materials can be seen stacked outside the building while awaiting shipment to manufacturers.

North of the residential recycling center is the latest addition to the ISWM site. This is a C&D transfer station. This is where contractors tip loads onto a concrete floor and ISMW operators reload those materials into larger trucks for transport to processors in the region.

Alternative Technologies

In 2012, ISWM, under the direction of the ISWM Landfill Business Model Working Group, issued three Requests for Proposals (RFPs) soliciting proposals from private vendors for options to manage our leachate, for constructing a landfill gas-to-energy facility and lastly for leasing 4.41 acres just to the south of our baling facility for the purpose of constructing and operating an innovative solid waste management technology.

As a result of the RFP process, the Board of Selectmen signed a 15-year lease, with two five-year extensions, in September 2014 with Harvest Power, Inc. of Waltham, MA that plans to build and operate a state-of-the-art anaerobic digester and renewable energy power plant. The digester will convert organic waste, such as food, fats, oils and grease, as well as biosolids, into methane that will be combined with our landfill gas and utilized as fuel in the power plant that will generate an estimated five megawatts of renewable electricity when at full capacity. Harvest also plans to make a fertilizer product out of the residual organic matter. Once permitting and construction is complete the facility is expected to come on-line in late 2016. More information about Harvest can be found on