The image above is one that we published back in 2004 and is one of the most important progressions in the history of landfills in the UK. It was a webpage in itself and rendered in efficient HTML code as was necessary for those days, to provide a reasonable download speed.
We have now converted it into one single image, and of course, nowadays these are called “infographic” images.
It shows how the concept of the current EU landfill lining requirements for MSW and commercial/industrial landfills evolved, and as an illustration, is probably unique in its treatment of this subject.
Stage 1 was current in the UK from the 1970s until about 1987. Throughout this period landfills were being progressively better controlled and were getting larger, so their potential impact on the surrounding water environment was growing.
Before this time landfills had been smaller and tended to contain much less biodegradable (organic matter), with the result that they were substantially aerobic, and the degradable matter composted, rather than fermented anaerobically as it does not in modern sanitary landfills.
The response in those days was to try to make new landfills less dangerous to the surrounding environment by applying what was called the dilute and disperse principle. Part of that idea was that if an aerobic biological filter was constructed or (in the form of suitable granular sub-soils) was left in place below an unlined landfill no more than 1 or 2 metres thick, they would be able to act as aerobic biological filters, and the groundwater below would not be harmed. Unfortunately, the idea was quoted by the less reputable companies as having been used in their “landfill design” when in reality such biological filters would only work if carefully designed by biological treatment experts.
Not unsurprisingly the dilute and disperse concept became quite rapidly discredited, and became known as “dilute and pollute” instead, and the result was the adoption of single liners which were either compacted clay, or welded HDPE, but not both.
Failures of both types, over time, and especially the migration of Landfill Gas laterally through clay wall linings resulted in the adoption of “composite landfill linings” which has both a clay liner and an HDPE membrane above it. This philosophy was then taken through into the EU Landfill Directive.
Landfill linings are physical barrier systems intended to, as far as possible, prevent the escape of water and gases out of the body of the landfilled waste. A Landfill Liner is placed at the bottom and sides of modern landfills and are continuously welded to as far as possible provide a watertight seal. They are […]
In this article we make the prediction that all UK Landfills will close within 5 Years. The current trend in waste reduction/ diversion from landfill shows that the nation will achieve Zero Waste to Landfill and quite soon as well. That momentous occasion will take place in 5 to 6 years time, according to the figures […]
Here is an explanation of the requirements of the DSEA Regulations and what they mean for landfill site owners and operators. All landfill owners (and by delegation their operators) fall under this regulation, and must act in order to comply with Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR) which have been in force since July 2006. DSEAR – […]
We would like to emphasise that, if at all possible, building on landfill sites containing putrescible material, and which therefore are likely to be generating landfill gas should be avoided. Some old landfills will be free from landfill gas, but do take great care to obtain expert advice before you assume that any particular landfill is […]