This investigation was conducted to evaluate the influence of waste placement practices on the engineering response of municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills. Waste placement conditions were varied by moisture addition to the wastes at the time of disposal. Tests were conducted at a California landfill in test plots (residential component of incoming wastes) and full-scale active face (all incoming wastes including residential, commercial, and self-delivered components). The short-term effects of moisture addition were assessed by investigating compaction characteristics and moisture distribution and the long-term effects by estimating settlement characteristics of the variably placed wastes. In addition, effects on engineering properties including hydraulic conductivity and shear strength, as well as economic aspects were investigated. The unit weight of the wastes increased with moisture addition to a maximum value and then decreased with further moisture addition. At the optimum moisture conditions, 68% more waste could be placed in the same landfill volume compared to the baseline conditions. Moisture addition raised the volumetric moisture content of the wastes to the range 33–42%, consistent with values at and above field capacity. Moisture transfer occurred between consecutive layers of compacted wastes and a moisture addition schedule of 2 days of as-received conditions and 1 day of moisture addition was recommended. Settlement of wastes was estimated to increase with moisture addition, with a 34% increase at optimum moisture compared to as-received conditions. Overall, moisture addition during compaction increased unit weight, the amount of incoming wastes disposed in a given landfill volume, biological activity potential, and predicted settlement. The combined effects have significant environmental and economic implications for landfill operations.


Civil and Environmental Engineering

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URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/cenv_fac/316