Closing Hazardous Landfills

by David L. Jaros, Geotechnical Engr.; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—Missouri River Division, P.O. Box 103, Downtown Station, Omaha, NE 68101,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1991, Vol. 61, Issue 4, Pg. 65-67

Document Type: Feature article


Designing and constructing covers for uncontrolled hazardous-waste landfills can pose some special problems—such as differential settlements as great as 50% of landfill thickness. Under an interagency agreement with EPA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages design and construction contracts and provides technical assistance to the agency in cleanups of hazardous-waste sites regulated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)—the Superfund law. The Corps' Missouri River Division has been involved in 10 closures of uncontrolled hazardous-waste landfills at sites across the country. Construction is complete or under way on eight; the other two are in design. The article describes several geosynthetics-related design and construction practices that can significantly affect final cover performance, including differential settlement, subgrade preparation, placement of geosynthetics and cover soils and seaming methods. Though based on work at CERCLA sites, these issues apply to all landfills.

Subject Headings: Soil settlement | Hazardous wastes | Landfills | Construction sites | Differential settlement | Geosynthetics | Construction methods | Thickness | Missouri River

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