Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Clifford Fox

Second Advisor

Vijay Satyal

Third Advisor

Peter DeFur


This research analyzed environmental and economic factors associated with municipal solid waste (MSW) management of select high growth Planning District Commissions (PDCs) of Virginia. Current MSW management scenarios were compared to future hypothetical scenarios utilizing a regional landfill or waste-to-energy (WTE) combustion facility. Life-cycle inventory and full cost accounting methods of the Municipal Solid Waste Decision Support Tool, developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), were utilized to estimate annualized environmental emissions and economic costs. Model results and analysis indicate that a regional landfill would be the least cost intensive MSW management strategy in comparison to current management methods; however present the greatest environmental burden with respect to methane emissions. It was also inferred that a WTE facility would represent the least environmental burden with respect to energy offsets via MSW combustion while being the most cost intensive option. The study supports the anecdotal view that a regional-based approach to MSW management of high-growth PDCs would help reduce costs and potential environmental impacts.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2009