Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Civil Engineering

Advisor's Name

Berrin Tansel

Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Advisor's Name

Shonali Laha

Advisor's Name

Luis Prieto-Portar

Advisor's Name

Mahadev Bhat

Keywords

Post closure care, landfill leachate, landfill gas, landfill cover, landfill risk analysis, environmentally conscious management, landfill stability, time series, municipal solid waste, groundwater monitoring

Date of Defense

3-24-2009

Abstract

Subtitle D of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requires a post closure period of 30 years for non hazardous wastes in landfills. Post closure care (PCC) activities under Subtitle D include leachate collection and treatment, groundwater monitoring, inspection and maintenance of the final cover, and monitoring to ensure that landfill gas does not migrate off site or into on site buildings. The decision to reduce PCC duration requires exploration of a performance based methodology to Florida landfills. PCC should be based on whether the landfill is a threat to human health or the environment. Historically no risk based procedure has been available to establish an early end to PCC.

Landfill stability depends on a number of factors that include variables that relate to operations both before and after the closure of a landfill cell. Therefore, PCC decisions should be based on location specific factors, operational factors, design factors, post closure performance, end use, and risk analysis. The question of appropriate PCC period for Florida’s landfills requires in depth case studies focusing on the analysis of the performance data from closed landfills in Florida. Based on data availability, Davie Landfill was identified as case study site for a case by case analysis of landfill stability. The performance based PCC decision system developed by Geosyntec Consultants was used for the assessment of site conditions to project PCC needs. The available data for leachate and gas quantity and quality, ground water quality, and cap conditions were evaluated. The quality and quantity data for leachate and gas were analyzed to project the levels of pollutants in leachate and groundwater in reference to maximum contaminant level (MCL). In addition, the projected amount of gas quantity was estimated. A set of contaminants (including metals and organics) were identified as contaminants detected in groundwater for health risk assessment. These contaminants were selected based on their detection frequency and levels in leachate and ground water; and their historical and projected trends. During the evaluations a range of discrepancies and problems that related to the collection and documentation were encountered and possible solutions made.

Based on the results of PCC performance integrated with risk assessment, projection of future PCC monitoring needs and sustainable waste management options were identified. According to these results, landfill gas monitoring can be terminated, leachate and groundwater monitoring for parameters above MCL and surveying of the cap integrity should be continued. The parameters which cause longer monitoring periods can be eliminated for the future sustainable landfills. As a conclusion, 30 year PCC period can be reduced for some of the landfill components based on their potential impacts to human health and environment (HH&E).