Course Description

This comprehensive course on solid waste management combines aspects of landfill, composting and household hazardous waste operations. It meets or exceeds requirements for the educational components of certification and licensing required for solid waste professionals.

Course Outline

Module 1: Landfill Operations

Lesson 1 – Waste Composition

  • Explain the process of waste decomposition, list factors that limit the decomposition rate, and list decomposition byproducts.
  • Explain the process of decomposition and its limiting factors.

Lesson 2 – Geology and Hydrology

  • Explain what is meant by geology, hydrogeology and hydrology.
  • List the three classifications of rock and describe how they are formed.

Lesson 3 – Engineering

  • Describe the role of engineering and an engineer, relative to the permitting and operations of a landfill.
  • Describe the basic tools used in engineering a landfill.

Lesson 4 – Surveying

  • Explain the various types of surveying techniques.
  • Perform basic mathematical and survey calculations.

Lesson 5 – Landfill Design

  • Explain the different tasks required to plan and prepare a good landfill design.
  • Describe the principles and define the terminology pertinent to landfill design.

Lesson 6 – Landfill Construction

  • Explain the need for ongoing landfill construction.
  • Explain the basic techniques used in landfill construction.

Lesson 7 – Landfill Operations

  • Explain the various facets of landfill operation including equipment needs, construction methods, soil excavation, cover alternatives and waste screening.
  • Identify various heavy equipment utilized in a landfill.

Lesson 8 – Regulations

  • List and describe the differences between related federal acts.
  • Identify the components of five federal acts and describe their impact on landfill operations.

Module 2: Composting Operations

Lesson 1 – Science of Composting

  • Understand that composting is very similar to farming and that, like farming, there are specific environmental conditions that lead to success.
  • Identify the primary organisms responsible for organic decomposition and describe the environment they thrive in..

Lesson 2 – Composting Processes

  • Describe the numerous composting processes and explain how these processes can vary depending on the type and quantity of waste to be composted.
  • Identify the operating parameters associated with the rapid decomposition phase.

Lesson 3 – Feedstock and Compost Technologies

  • Understand the waste source, and matching the best composting technology to the waste source.
  • List the distinctive categories of potential compost feedstock and understand some of the concerns associated with each category.

Lesson 4 – Compost Quality and Classification

  • Explain why there is currently a lack of standards classifications and regulations that govern the compost industry.
  • Identify the different compost qualities and the ranges that make for a quality product.

Lesson 5 – Facility Development

  • Explain how the design and process complexity of a compost facility is relative to the type and quantity of feedstock it handles.
  • Explain why siting a compost facility, like siting any waste facility, is a complex, controversial and very important part of developing a facility..

Lesson 6 – Environmental Concerns and Control

  • Describe many of the primary causes of odor and some of their controls.
  • Identify areas of concerns for water quality at a compost facility and some of the controls.

Lesson 7 – Compost Regulations

  • Understand why there are currently no federal standards governing compost unless biosolids are used.
  • Understand that though there are no federal standards that directly govern compost and/or the composting process, there are environmental laws that may govern aspects of composting.

Lesson 8 – State Programs

  • Determine and describe the two different types of composting facilities.
  • Determine and explain the regulations and operation requirements for all composting facilities.

Module 3: Household Hazardous Waste

Lesson 1 – Regulations Overview

  • Recognize OSHA and EPA standards that apply to work on hazardous waste sites.
  • Identify provisions of 29 CFR 1910.120 applicable to waste site work.

Lesson 2 – Chemical Awareness

  • List the primary health hazards associated with acids and bases.
  • Describe the basic treatment for skin and eye exposure to chemicals.

Lesson 3 – Toxicology

  • List the four main routes for toxic substances to enter into the body.
  • Identify procedures to protect oneself from toxins.

Lesson 4 – Operational Hazards

  • Describe specific hazards posed by working in a regional collection center.
  • List the definitions for hazard, safety and risk.

Lesson 5 – Hazard Identification

  • Describe the NFPA 704 sign.
  • Identify the numbers used in the NFPA numbering system.

Lesson 6 – Respiratory Protection and PPE

  • List the main categories of respirators.
  • Compare the advantages and disadvantages of a full-facepiece mask versus a half-facepiece mask for air-purifying respirators.

Lesson 7 – Decontamination

  • Identify standard operating procedures for minimizing worker contact with waste and maximizing work protection.
  • List the four types of decontamination methods.

Lesson 8 – Waste Management

  • List the seven steps in a waste management process.
  • List the main classes of hazardous materials and how they should be sorted and stored.

Lesson 9 – Emergency Procedures

  • Describe the elements of an effective emergency, contingency and spill response plan.
  • Identify guidelines for establishing safe evacuation routes and procedures.


Participants have 12 months to complete this self-paced online course.

All necessary materials included.


System Requirements:

Internet Connectivity Requirements:

  • Cable and DSL internet connections recommended.

Hardware Requirements:

  • Minimum Pentium 400 Mhz CPU or G3 Macintosh. 1 GHz or greater CPU recommended.
  • 256MB RAM minimum. 1 GB RAM recommended.
  • 800x600 video resolution minimum. 1025x768 recommended.
  • Speakers/headphones to listen to dialogue-streaming audio sessions.
  • A microphone to speak in dialogue-streaming audio sessions.

Operating System Requirements:

  • Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 9, 10
  • Mac OSX 10 or higher.
  • OpenSUSE Linux 9.2 or higher.

Web Browser Requirements:

  • Google Chrome is recommended.
  • Firefox 13.x or greater.
  • Internet Explorer 6.x or greater.
  • Safari 3.2.2 or greater.

Software Requirements:

  • Adobe Flash Player 6 or greater.
  • Oracle Java 7 or greater.
  • Adobe Reader 7 or greater.

Web Browser Settings:

  • Accept cookies
  • Disable pop-up blocker.
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