Report No SR2696



July 1991



In the late 1970s and 1980s the philosophy of dilute and disperse was a widely accepted principle of site operations in situations where there was a significant unsaturated zone above the water table. It has, however, been recognised that this form of practice is unacceptable, since potential water resources could be at risk from pollution. The proposed EC Directive will require that all sites receiving municipal solid waste or hazardous waste shall be operated as containment sites.

The main objectives of the study are to provide an overview of the environmental problems of liquid and solid containment including information on legislation that is likely to affect the use of liners in landfill design and management. In carrying out this study, an understanding of the range of problems and solutions that exist, both in terms of technical and economic advantage or limitations are discussed along with guidelines on the methods, techniques, materials and the procedures that are currently available for the lining of landfill sites using both natural and artificial lining systems.

Future research should include the development of robust sensing and sampling devices for installation adjacent to and beneath liners. The results of monitoring of the performance of liner systems should be collected on a national or at least regional basis so that experience of the reliability of liner and monitoring systems may be analysed. National protocols for the monitoring of lined sites should be developed by joint discussions between waste management and water interests, including both regulatory and operational aspects.

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