Experimental landfill caps for semi-arid and arid climates

G.E. Blight, Andy Fourie

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    The United States EPA Subtitle D municipal solid waste landfill requirements specify that the permeability of a cap to a landfill be no greater than the permeability of the underliner. In recent years the concept of the evapotranspirative (ET) cap has been developed in which the cap is designed to store all rain infiltration and re-evapotranspire it during dry weather. Concern at the long period required for landfilled municipal solid waste to decompose and stabilize in and and semi-arid climates has led to an extension of the concept of the ET cap. With the infiltrate-stabilize-evapotranspire (ISE) cap, rain infiltration during wet weather is permitted to enter the underlying waste, thus accelerating the decomposition and stabilization process. Excess infiltration is then removed from both waste and cap by evaporation during dry weather. The paper describes the construction and operation of two sets of experimental ISE caps, one in a winter rainfall semi-arid climate, and the other in a summer rainfall semi-arid climate. Observation of the rainfall, soil evaporation and amount of water stored in the caps has allowed water balances to be constructed for caps of various thicknesses. These observations show that the ISE concept is viable. In the limit, when there is insufficient rainfall to infiltrate the waste, an ISE cap operates as an ET cap.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)113-125
    JournalWaste Management & Research
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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