Asking yourself and the manufacturer the right questions prior to purchasing an alternative daily cover (ADC), can mean the difference between a perfect fit and a perfect flop.

When considering daily covers, managers first should establish that the product in question satisfies the U.S. Environmental Agency, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Subtitle D performance standards for daily covers, said Don Hildebrandt of EPI Environmental Products, Conroe, Texas. Since state definitions may vary, he suggested that managers check the requirements in their state.

In selecting an ADC product, the manager should consider the type of air space savings, safety factors and storage requirements, Hildebrandt continued. Appli-cation ease and material removal is a basic concern, but managers must think about the site's environment: Can the material be uplifted, and if so, could this result in employee injuries?

To reduce scavenging and maintain a clean face, a good cover should deter birds and control litter blowing, reports Gregg Krause of Central Fiber Corp., Wellsville, Kan.

Finally, managers must calculate the material's long-term cost as well as the daily, per-square-foot cost, said Mike Slutz of Tarp-O-Matic, Canton, Ohio. Landfill managers are not just buying a cover, but are purchasing a partnership, so finding a supportive manufacturer is essential. "Make sure that the company is reputable, experienced in the area and has a knowledgeable staff, from the sales people to the technicians who can give you a rapid response to any problems at hand. They should be able to assist you in getting approved to use the ADC." Training and training manuals also are essential, he said.

Don't be afraid to grill the manufacturer. According to Hildebrandt, the following questions should be asked:

* What is the life expectancy of the chemicals/material?

* What is the amount of soil needed on a daily/weekly/monthly basis?

* Does the system add moisture to the waste, and if so,what is the percent? ("All liquid coming in contact with solid waste must be treated as leachate," he said.)

* Will the ADC break down after its intended use?

* Under what weather condition can the system not be used?

* What special equipment is needed?

* Will employees have to handle the ADC after it has been placed?

* What is the delivery time of the material/equipment?

Hildebrandt added that managers should ask to test-drive the system to ascertain employee favor or disapproval before putting any money down. Additionally, he notes that equipment warranties should have a minimum one-year duration.