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Geotechnical Aspects of Landfill Design and Construction

Geotechnical Aspects of Landfill Design and Construction

Xuede Qian, Robert Koerner, Donald Gray

Aug 2002, Hardback, 717 pages
ISBN13: 9780130125064
ISBN10: 0130125067
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For senior/graduate level or professional training courses in Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering.

This text addresses landfill design and construction issues in a comprehensive manner. It does this by focusing on all elements of a landfill from design to completion. The text also looks at actual, state-of-the-art construction procedures in a step-by-step manner. This is accomplished with carefully selected design equations and examples, diagrams, tables, and homework problems.

(NOTE: Each chapter concludes with Problems and References.)

1. Introduction.
Need for Landfills. Principal Landfill Requirements. Landfill Components and Configuration. Landfill Envelope. Composite Liners. Benefits of Double Composite Liners. Liner Linkage Mechanisms. Scope and Organization of Book.

2. Landfill Siting and Site Investigation.
Siting Considerations. Location Restrictions. Siting Process. Site Investigation. Borrow Source Investigation. Field Hydraulic Conductivity Tests. Material Laboratory Tests.

3. Compacted Clay Liners.
Overview Compacted Clay Liners. Compaction and Permeability Considerations. Design of Compacted Clay Liners. Influence of Clods on Hydraulic Conductivity. Effect of Gravel Content on Hydraulic Conductivity. Effect of Freezing and Thawing on Hydraulic Conductivity. Summary Comments Regarding Compacted Clay Liners.

4. Geomembranes.
Composition and Thickness of Geomembranes. Current Uses of Geomembranes in Landfills. Tensile Behavior of Geomembranes. Friction Behavior of Geomembranes. Tension Stresses Due to Unbalanced Friction Forces. Tension Stresses Due to Localized Subsidence. Runout and Anchor Trenches. Assessment of Leakage through Liners. Concluding Comments Regarding Geomembranes.

5. Geosynthetic Clay Liners.
Types and Current Uses of Geosynthetic Clay Liners. Hydraulic Conductivity. Ability to Withstand Differential Settlement. Shear Strength. Differences between Geosynthetic Clay Liners and Compacted Clay Liners. Contaminant Transport through Geosynthetic Clay Liner and Compacted Clay Liner. Comparison of Mass Transport through a GCL and CCL. Recommendations for Use of Geosynthetic Clay Liners. Summarizing Comments Regarding Geosynthetic Clay Liners.

6. Engineering Properties of Municipal Solid Waste.
Constituents of Municipal Solid Waste. Unit Weight of Municipal Solid Waste. Moisture Content of Municipal Solid Waste. Porosity of Municipal Solid Waste. Hydraulic Conductivity of Municipal Solid Waste. Field Capacity and Wilting Point of Municipal Solid Waste. Shear Strength of Municipal Solid Waste. Compressibility of Municipal Solid Waste.

7. Leachate Generation and Evaluation in MSW Landfills.
MSW Leachate Characterization. Factors Affecting Leachate Quantity. Estimation of Leachate Production Rate in an Active Condition. Estimation of Leachate Production Rate in a Postclosure Condition. Hydrologic Evaluation of Landfill Performance (HELP) Model.

8. Liquid Drainage Layer.
Profile of Leachate Drainage Layer. Soil Drainage and Filtration Layer. Geotextile Design for Filtration. Geonet Design for Leachate Drainage. Estimate of Maximum Liquid Head in a Drainage Layer.

9. Leachate Collection and Removal Systems.
Subbase Grading. Leachate Collection Trenches. Selection of Leachate Collection Pipe. Deformation and Stability of Leachate Collection Pipe. Sump and Riser Pipes. Leachate Removal Pumps.

10. Gas Collection and Control Systems.
Gas Generation. Gas Composition. Factors Affecting Gas Generation. Gas Generation Rate. Gas Migration. Types and Components of Gas Collection Systems. Gas Control and Treatment. Design of Gas Collection System.

11. Final Cover System.
Components of Final Cover System. Alternative Landfill Cover. Field Study of Landfill Covers. Soil Erosion Control. Effects of Settlement and Subsidence. Differential Subsidence Case History.

12. Landfill Settlement.
Mechanism of Solid Waste Settlement. Effect of Daily Cover. Landfill Settlement Rate. Estimation of Landfill Settlement. Effect of Waste Settlement on Landfill Capacity. Other Methods for Estimating Landfill Settlement. Estimation of Landfill Foundation Settlement.

13. Landfill Stability Analysis.
Types of Landfill Failures. Factors Influencing Landfill Stability. Selection of Appropriate Properties. Veneer Slope Stability Analysis. Subsoil Foundation Failures. Waste Mass Failures. Concluding Remarks.

14. Vertical Landfill Expansions.
Considerations Involved in Vertical Expansions. Liner Systems for Vertical Expansion. Settlement of Existing Landfill. Estimation of Differential Settlement Due to Waste Heterogeneity. Vertical Expansion over Unlined Landfills. Design Considerations for Landfill Structures. Geosynthetic Reinforcement Design for Vertical Expansions. Stability Analysis for Vertical Expansion.

15. Bioreactor Landfills.
Introduction. Liquids Managements Strategies. Concepts of Waste Degradation. Leachate Recycling Methods. Bioreactor Landfill Issues and Concerns. Performance-to-Date. Summary Comments.

16. Construction of Compacted Clay Liners.
Subgrade Preparation. Soil Materials for Compacted Soil Lines. Compaction Objectives and Choices. Initial Saturation Specifications. Clay Liner Compaction Considerations. Compaction Specifications. Leachate Collection Trench Construction. Protection of Compacted Soil. Field Measurement of Water Content and Dry Unit Weight. Construction Quality Assurance and Quality Control Issues.

17. Installation of Geosynthetic Materials.
Material Delivery and Conformance Tests. Installation of Geomembranes. Installation of Geonets. Installation of Geotextiles. Installation of Geocompostes. Installation of Geosynthetic Clay Liners.

18. Postclosure Uses of MSW Landfills.
Athletic and Recreational Facilities. Industrial Development. Aesthetics. Concluding Remarks.

Appendix I. Help Model Input and Output—Active Condition.

Appendix II. Help Model Input and Output—Postclosure Condition.


  • Focused and well-organized treatment of key topics affecting geotechnical aspects of landfill design and construction—Without repeating basic soil engineering subjects that can be found in geotechnical textbooks.
    • Introduces students and professionals to an in-depth overview of municipal and industrial waste disposal and key elements of landfill establishment; provides students and professional with up-to-date industry topics; and addresses the overall theory involved in the successful siting, design and construction of a landfill project.

  • Physico-chemical and engineering properties of solid waste that are relevant and important to landfill design and construction are tabulated and described.
    • Helps students and professionals appreciate the importance of solid waste properties that are very different and more complex than the properties of soils; and permits students and professionals to readily find comprehensive information that may be encountered in the engineering field.

  • Explanation of how to evaluate and assess potential problems that affect landfill performance—Including slope stability, settlement, containment effectiveness, and erosion control.
    • Presents students and professionals with extensive coverage on potential problems that affect landfill performance; and provides decision-making and problem-solving techniques.

  • How leachate moves across a liner or barrier under both advection and diffusion is described—Also compares the containment effectiveness of different liner systems to the combined advective-diffusive transport of dissolved leachate solutes.
    • Provides students and professionals with the basic concepts and useful tools that can be used to solve current controversial equivalency problems for various alternative liner designs.

  • Detailed explanation with numerical examples and calculations on how to design a gas collection and piping system in a landfill—Including the collection and handling of condensate in the gas.
    • Exposes students and professionals to significant topics not found in any other book of its kind; and introduces students and professionals to step-by-step design methods to design an integrated landfill gas collection system.

  • Explanation of how to evaluate mass stability during different stages of a landfill's life—Namely: i) sideslope stability during excavation, ii) liner system stability during construction, iii) waste stability during placement, iv) final cover system stability, and v) landfill postclosure stability.
    • Enables students and professionals to see a complete picture regarding landfill stability analysis and understand the factors affecting landfill stability in different stages and interaction with respect to soil, waste, and various geosynthetic materials.

  • Chapter on vertical landfill expansions—Techniques for increasing the disposal capacity of existing landfills.
    • Gives students and professionals a solid foundation in the fundamentals of design of lateral and vertical landfill expansion projects; and keeps students and professionals at all levels up-to-date with recent development trends in the landfill engineering field.

  • Chapters on bioreactor landfills and postclosure uses of landfills—Important new trends in landfill technology.
    • Looks beyond containment alone to explain how landfill contents can be managed to reduce their toxicity and also describes a variety of beneficial postclosure uses of landfills.

  • Detailed installation and inspection guidelines for both earthen and geosynthetic liner/cover systems—Compares the relative advantages and limitations of each.
    • Introduces students and professionals to the details of construction procedures and specifications, construction quality assurance and quality control procedures, methodology of field tests, and requirements of regulatory agencies.

  • Hundreds of useful design equations—Specific guidance and protocols for design of a landfill envelope, leachate collection/removal, and gas collection/control systems.
    • Shows students and professionals how to solve problems step-by-step, and provides students and professionals with powerful tools to understand and solve practical and complex landfill design problems.

  • Carefully selected calculation and integrated design examples—Covering the design of all elements of a landfill in addition to landfill settlement and stability analyses.
    • Helps students and professionals to master and apply the learned knowledge and skills so that they can better understand the subject matter.

  • Homework problems are included at the end of each chapter—Enhance the utility and appeal of the book as a college or professional short course textbook.
    • Enriches and reinforces students and professionals learning endeavor; affords students and professionals more drill and practice; and increases their motivation to understand.

  • Written by knowledgeable and well qualified co-authors—The authors blend private consulting, regulatory agency, and university teaching experience on the design and construction of landfills. They have decades of university research and consulting experience on geosynthetics and geotechnical aspects of solid waste disposal.
    • Gives students and professionals more of real-world perspective, and up-to-date information on the skills practitioners need to be successful in an increasingly competitive environment, making the job they are preparing for more real and the material they are studying more relevant.

Xuede Qian is currently a statewide Geotechnical Engineering Specialist with the Waste Management Division, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. He received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in hydraulic and geotechnical engineering from Hohai University Nanjing, China, and the Ph.D. degree in geotechnical engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is also an adjunct faculty member with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan, with responsibility for teaching a senior/graduate level course on landfill design and construction. He has been actively involved in landfill engineering research and has participated in many landfill design, construction, and remediation projects during the past decade. Dr. Qian has authored numerous technical papers in the geotechnical and geoenvironmental fields. His professional experiences include work for universities, regulatory agencies, and consulting firms.

Robert M. Koerner is currently an H. L. Bowman Professor of Civil Engineering with Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA. He received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in civil engineering from Drexel University and the Ph.D. degree in geotechnical engineering from Duke University. He is an Honorary Member of the ASCE and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Koerner is the co-author of the first book on geotextiles and has authored or coauthored more than 300 papers on geosynthetics in major engineering journals and for national and international conference proceedings. His latest effort is the fourth edition of the textbook entitled Designing with Geosynthetics. As Director of the Geosynthetic Research Institute, his activities involve all aspects of waste disposal, but focus particularly on the liner and cover containment systems.

Donald H. Gray is a Professor Emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering with the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He received the B.S. and M.S. degrees and the Ph.D. degree in geological and civil engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. His areas of expertise include slope stability and erosion control, engineering properties of solid waste materials, the transport of leachate through landfill liners (under combined advection/diffusion), and containment strategies for landfilled wastes. He has authored numerous technical papers and lectured extensively at training workshops and short courses dealing with geotechnical aspects of waste disposal in the ground. He has served as the organizer and chairman of two ASCE specialty conferences on geotechnical engineering of land disposal. Dr. Gray is also the principal author of two well-regarded reference books on biotechnical and soil bioengineering slope stabilization.

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