Simulating the Impact of Cover Degradation on RCRA Landfill Performance



The ability of near-surface disposal facility cover designs to meet percolation performance criteria is influenced by degradation occurring over long periods of time. This study was conducted to determine the effect of degradation on percolation based on probabilistic distributions derived from historical climate data. Water-balance predictions were evaluated using the HELP model, employing several variations of degradation in a traditional Resource Conservation and Recovery Act disposal facility cover design over a 100-year simulation period. Analysis results were evaluated relative to two different selected thresholds for annual percolation (1 mm and 3 mm). Approximately 20 percent of the results did not exceed both the 1-mm and 3-mm thresholds, while 10 percent of the realizations exceeded the 1-mm threshold but not the 3-mm threshold, with remaining cases exceeding the 3-mm threshold. These results demonstrate the importance of considering degradation in designing near-surface disposal facilities, especially given the very long performance periods desired by different regulators. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.