Critical evaluation of factors required to terminate the postclosure monitoring period at solid waste landfills

M.A. Barlaz, A.P. Rooker, Peter Kjeldsen, M.A. Gabr, R.C. Borden

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Regulations governing the disposal of solid waste in landfills specify that they must be monitored for 30 years after closure unless this period is extended by the governing regulatory authority. Given the wide range of conditions under which refuse is buried, technical criteria, rather than a specific time period, are preferable for evaluation of when it is acceptable to terminate postclosure monitoring. The objectives of this paper are to identify and evaluate parameters that can be used to define the end of the postclosure monitoring period and to present a conceptual framework for an investigation of whether postclosure monitoring can be terminated at a landfill. Parameters evaluated include leachate composition and leachate and gas production. Estimates of leachate production from closed landfills are used to assess the potential environmental impacts of a hypothetical release to surface water or groundwater. The acceptability of gaseous releases should be evaluated against criteria for odors, the potential for subsurface migration, and greenhouse gas and ozone precursor emissions. The approach presented here must be tested on a site-specific basis to identify additional data requirements and regulatory activity that might be required to prepare regulators for the large number of requests to terminate postclosure monitoring expected over the next 20 years. An approach in which the frequency and extent of postclosure monitoring is reduced as warranted by site-specific data and impact analysis should provide an effective strategy to manage closed landfills.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology (Washington)
Volume36
Issue number16
Pages (from-to)3457-3464
ISSN0013-936X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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