UPDATE: Waste Scraps Net Bird-Free Landfill

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MD. - The only municipal landfill in Anne Arundel County, Md., (AACo.) has devised a unique way to effectively battle the bird blues. Situated near the Chesapeake Bay, the landfill already was a seagull magnet. However, the real trouble began during summer 1997, when the county constructed a new 7.5-acre subcell.

Simultaneously, changes in the local waste industry allowed AACo. to take advantage of a new transfer station to divert 350 tons of curbside collected waste and to "lose" most of the commercial waste.

While this arrangement substantially increased the landfill's life, it also gave the county a larger subcell than it immediately needed.

To control storm water in this new subcell, AACo. decided to berm off 3.5 acres and cover it with an impervious liner to collect rain water and minimize leachate generation and treatment. The seagulls, attracted to the white color and collected water, loved the rain bonnet.

Seagulls are messy birds, and in large concentration, can deposit considerable amounts of litter, feathers, food scraps, paper and bodily waste. AACo. had to devise a cost-effective solution - and fast.

To ward off the gulls, AACo. first welded scrap pipe, metal bars, rebar and other miscellaneous metal pieces to 70 old tires with rims to form pipestands. These tire/poles then were placed in 50-foot grids on the rain bonnet area. Two strands, one high and one midway, of 20-pound monofilament fishing line (300,000 feet of line total) were tied to the poles to form 50-foot by 50-foot grids that criss-crossed each other diagonally to form Xs.

This simple bird deterrent worked, and AACo.'s rain bonnet has been bird-free ever since.