Can Clay Liners Work?

by David E. Daniel, Asst. Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Univ. of Texas at Austin, Austin, Tex.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1985, Vol. 55, Issue 4, Pg. 48-49

Document Type: Feature article


Nearly all liners for landfills and surface impoundments were constructed from compacted clay until about five years ago. But this is no longer so. In the past few years, clay liners used by themselves have fallen out of favor with the Environmental Protection Agency. Recent research examines liner permeability and chemical attack of the liner. Clay liners may prove useful if some caveats are observed. Be aware of the type of waste that will be placed in any one cell. Test the compatibility between liner material and either the actual leachate or waste liquid or a test leachate. Don't expose the liner to concentrated acids, bases or organic chemicals. Use a thick liner to keep effective stress to a minimum. Cover the liner to prevent it from drying out, and avoid construction during freezing weather since this may cause cracking.

Subject Headings: Clay liners | Clays | Compacted soils | Leachates | Effective stress | Linings | Landfills | Water storage

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