BOX 5.1

Types of Data Available on Waste Containment Landfills and Impoundment System Performance

Few data exist on containment system performance. One of the most comprehensive studies on short- and medium-term performance of containment systems was conducted by Bonaparte et al. (2002), based on information collected from publications and from discussions with facility owners, operators, designers, and regulators. The study reported performance problems from multiple sources, including operators, at approximately 2,000 U.S. landfills and impoundments designed and constructed under Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitles C and D. A total of 85 “problems” were identified at 79 landfill and 5 surface impoundment facilities (listed in Table 5.1 and shown graphically in Figure 5.1). Care must be taken in drawing conclusions from these data, since the search for problem facilities was not exhaustive.

TABLE 5.1 Types of Problems Encountered at Waste Containment Facilities

 

Principal Human Factor Contributing to the Problem

Waste Containment System Component or Attribute

Prevalence of Problem (%)

Design

Construction

Operation

Landfill liner construction

17

1

11

2

Landfill liner degradation

8

3

3

1

Landfill LCRS or LDS construction

7

0

6

0

Landfill LCRS or LDS degradation

6

2

3

0

Landfill LCRS or LDS malfunction

5

2

0

2

Landfill LCRS or LDS operation

5

1

0

3

Landfill liner system stability

14

9

0

3

Landfill liner system displacement

5

4

0

0

Cover system construction

2

0

2

0

Cover system degradation

2

2

0

0

Cover system stability

21

16

2

0

Cover system displacement

2

1

1

0

Impoundment liner construction

4

0

3

0

Impoundment liner degradation

1

1

0

0

Impoundment LDS

0

0

0

0

Impoundment liner system stability

1

0

1

0

Impoundment liner system displacement

0

0

0

0

NOTES: LCRS = leachate collection and removal system; LDS = leak detection system.

SOURCE: Bonaparte et al. (2002).

FIGURE 5.1 (Left) General distribution of problems by waste containment system component or attribute. (Right) Distribution of problems by principal human factor contributing to the problem. SOURCE: Bonaparte et al. (2002).



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