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McDonald Group International, Inc

Water, Wastewater, Environmental Engineering 


What goes into the design of a landfill?


1. Establish Design Criteria

  • Solid waste quantity projections and site life requirements
  • Liner requirements
  • Leachate disposal requirements
  • Landfill support facilities
  • Landfill cover material requirements
  • Surface water management system requirements
  • Landfill closure requirements
  • Gas control requirements
  • Determine disposition of waste material already onsite
  • Local dimensional and construction methods requirements
  • Availability of local material, power and water, other utilities

2. Obtain Data Necessary for Design

To assure soil foundation support and establish site civil and environmental limitationsts, the following data is needed:

  • Conduct hydrogeologic investigations
  • Define geologic stratigraphy
  • Establish groundwater depths and flow directions
  • Define characteristics of on-site soils
  • Prepare base maps Prepare a topographic map of site in an Autocadd file
  • Obtain available precipitation data

Special services needed to accomplish this are as follows:

  1. A survey of the site for property boundary and topograhic information
  2. Geotechnical investigation, consisting of soil borings and soil tests.


3. Prepare Preliminary Layouts and Design

During this phase of our work, recommendations are developed with respect to the following design issues:

  • Prepare Overall Preliminary Site Development Plan
  • Establish landfill boundaries, excavation depths, and final site topography at closure
  • Prepare phased development plan, defining boundaries and life of each phase
  • Define leachate collection system layout and sizes, including collection pipe spacing, locations of transmission piping, pump stations and storage/disposal facilities, using HELP2 model
  • Evaluate leachate treatment/disposal alternatives including discharge to surface waters, land disposal and recirculation
  • Prepare cover soil balance calculations
  • Layout access roads and support facilities
  • Layout and size surface water collection and transmission systems
  • Define liner section and materials
  • Define final cover section and materials
  • Prepare Preliminary Design for Phase I of the Landfill
  • Define facilities and site features to be constructed in Phase I
  • Establish design features, including sizing, specific layouts and materials
  • Phase I landfill cell
  • leachate collection, transmission and disposal facilities
  • surface water management systems
  • liner systems
  • support facilities
  • soils stockpiles
  • Prepare preliminary quantities to allow the owner to make a cost estimate for Phase I landfill cell and facilities
  • Develop schedule for permitting and construction
  • Utility design

4. Prepare Design Documents for the Landfill

At this stage of the project::

  • Plans and specifications will be developed for the Phase I facilities and landfill cell in suitable detail for bidding and construction
  • Update quantity
  • Plans and specifications for the leachate recirculation, collection, pumping and treatment systems.

5. Prepare Operations and Maintenance Plan

An Operations and Maintenance Plan covers the following subjects:

  • Describe operations and maintenance procedures for equipment
  • Describe landfill operations and prepare development plan for the Phase I landfill area showing cell and lift development, temporary access roads, and intermediate and final cover development.