Turning north off Highway 193 onto 1150 East, you travel through a dense subdivision typical of many areas of urban sprawl along the Wasatch Front. However, despite these rows of homes, a pocket of country exists just a half mile away.

Along North Hills Drive, a rural, winding road, you'd never suspect a major landfill is less than a mile away. At the road's end is a concrete building. Absent are all the stereotypical landfill characteristics - foul odor, scavenging birds and blowing garbage.There's a beehive of activity to the northeast, where a new, 18.9-acre landfill cell is under construction below several large homes on the hillside.

This will be the first of three new landfill cells by Wasatch Energy Systems, operator of the Davis and Morgan counties burn plant and landfill, now under construction on unincorporated county land northeast of Layton's city limits.

Located at 1150 E. North Hills Drive, the landfill cell is now having its 60-millimeter plastic liner installed and connected in 20-foot-wide strips. Situated southeast of the old 46-year-old landfill - tucked away tidily on the north hillside - the new cell is expected to be open by the end of June.

"This landfill is a clean, environmentally friendly facility," district executive director LeGrand Bitter said.

The landfill will also have a geosynthetic net on top of the liner, 24 inches of soil of top of that and another 3 feet of selected waste added on top to buffer that. This equals 5 feet of protection from punctures and leakage.

Bitter said the 3 feet of selected waste goes beyond the federal landfill requirement and will further enhance the environmental safety of the landfill.

The plastic liner will cost the district $883,000.

There is also a special waste-water system being developed to properly address water runoff, as well as the moisture from solid waste.

Bitter said the new landfill is cutting edge and should be the most modern and safest in the state for at least the next few years.

The second landfill phase, another 23.6 acres, will be finished by 2003 and the final stage of 4.3 acres will be operation by 2008.

The expanded landfill will be able to handle district waste for another 35 years, based on the district receiving 138,000 tons of waste per year.

The landfill handles the ash from the burn plant, as well as other non-burnable waste from 17 cities in Davis and Morgan counties - representing more than 200,000 residents.

Without the burn plant to reduce much of the solid waste to ash, the three landfill cells would be full within 10 years rather than by 35 years with the burn plant.

The old landfill's latest cell, about 25 acres, is 95 percent full. Both landfills will be used until the old one is at capacity - within a year.

Bitter said there have been no complaints from any of the Layton subdivisions to the east or south regarding the new construction.

"It's been quiet," he said. "We've tried to be good neighbors."

The district owns a total of 232 acres in the area. Much of it is used as a buffer to the surrounding, encroaching residential development.