Landfills: Anatomy of Automated Design

by Juan C. Vargas, National Technical Director for Landfills; HDR Engineering, Inc., Dallas, TX,
David B. Porter, Civ. Engr.; HDR Engineering, Inc., Dallas, TX,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1992, Vol. 62, Issue 3, Pg. 52-55

Document Type: Feature article


California's 360 acre Bee Canyon landfill (completed last year) sits amid a complicated network of narrow canyons with side slopes 300 ft high. As with most landfill projects, manual designs would have been time-consuming, and lack of proper software could have hindered computerized designs. Yet plans for the Bee Canyon project sprang from basic computer-aided drafting and design (CADD) packages. The dearth of specific software may have protected the project from the hidden costs of automated design. Too often these costs creep into design budgets when new computerized engineering tools are introduced, especially fascination costs. It's easy to run up such costs in trying out aspects of a new technology that don't really apply to the job at hand for the sake of seeing how it operates. Fascination costs also can occur when a design is taken well beyond the precision required by proper standards simply because the computerized realm allows it. This is especially true when designing landfills. Many design software packages are developed on various platforms for many design applications. The packages generally have limited applicability for landfill design. Roadway and site design packages (most often marketed to landfill designers) are usually laden with overpowered and overpriced features while lacking the essential design tools.

Subject Headings: Computer aided design | Landfills | Highway and road design | Canyons | Slopes | Construction costs | Automation | Creep

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