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  Assessment and Recommendations for Improving the Performance of Waste Containment Systems (EPA/600/R-02/099) December 2002

This study addressed three categories of issues related to the design, construction, and performance of waste containment systems used at landfills, surface impoundments, and waste piles and in the remediation of contaminated sites. Geosynthetic materials have been used as essential components of waste containment systems since the early 1980s, and this report represents the first attempt to gauge their performance.

Specifically, the report addresses:

  • Geosynthetic technical issues
    • Protection of geomembranes from puncture using needle-punched nonwoven geotextiles
    • Behavior of waves in high density polyethylene (HDPE) geomembranes when subjected to overburden stress
    • Plastic pipe stress-deformation behavior under high overburden stress
    • Service life prediction of geotextiles and geomembranes
  • Natural soil technical issues

Geosynthetic clay liners (GCLs) are relatively new, having first been used in a landfill in 1986. One of the key issues with respect to field performance of GCLs is their stability on permanent slopes, such as slopes found on landfill final cover systems.

Fourteen test plots, designed to replicate typical final cover systems for solid waste landfills, were constructed to evaluate the internal and interface shear strength of GCLs under full-scale field conditions on 2H:1V and 3H:1V slopes. Five different types of GCLs were evaluated, and performance was observed for over four years. All test plots were initially stable, but as the bentonite in the GCLs became hydrated, three slides (all on 2H:1V slopes) that involved the GCLs occurred.

To evaluate the field performance of compacted clay liners (CCLs), a database of 89 large-scale field hydraulic conductivity tests was assembled and the data analyzed. A separate database for 12 soil-bentonite admixed CCLs was also assembled and the data analyzed. In addition, case histories on the field performance of CCLs in final cover test sections were collected and evaluated.


David Carson

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