Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, 229:374 | Cite as

Permeability and Retention to Water and Leachate of a Compacted Soil Used as Liner

  • Mariane Alves de Godoy LemeEmail author
  • Miriam Gonçalves Miguel


In many developing countries, a landfill remains one of the most extensively employed solid waste disposal solutions. Although a landfill is a well-designed engineering system, the base lining of a landfill may perform poorly and allow the leachate to reach the underlying soil layers and groundwater. Leachates contain a variety of toxic and hazardous contaminants, which are attenuated in the soil by various processes that slow or transform them. Thus, the objective of this research was to study the water and leachate permeability and retention of the liner soil in a landfill experimental cell by subjecting it to geotechnical, chemical-mineralogical, and physicochemical characterizations, water and leachate permeability tests, and mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP). In addition, the water and leachate retention curves were determined and analyzed using RETention Curve (RETC) software to obtain the unsaturated permeability curves. The leachate in the soil decreased the suction considering the moisture content of the compacted soil in the field, which consequently increased the leachate permeability of the mineral liner. For the same suction value, in the drying pathways, the soil retained a greater amount of distilled water than leachate. In the wetting pathways, the opposite occurred. Microorganisms were detected in the soil during the filter paper test. The permeability coefficients of the unsaturated soil were directly proportional to the gravimetric moisture content for the water and the leachate, which demonstrated that the soil presents lower unsaturated permeability coefficients for water than for leachate for the same water content.


Compacted clay liner Leachate Soil retention curve Coefficient of unsaturated permeability 


List of Symbols, Abbreviations, and Acronyms

α - Curve adjustment parameter (van Genuchten's model 1980)

Al2O3 - Aluminum oxide

BOD - Biochemical oxygen demand

CaCO3 - Calcium carbonate

CAPES - Brazilian Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel

CEC - Cation exchange capacity

CL - Clay of low compressibility

COD - Chemical oxygen demand

D - Drying pathway

E.d. - Empirical data

FAPESP - Support Foundation for Research in the State of São Paulo

Fe2O3 - Ferric oxide

HAc - Acetic acid

μ - Micro (prefix)

m - Adjustment parameter related to curve asymmetry (van Genuchten's model 1980)

MIP - Mercury intrusion porosimetry

MSW - Municipal solid waste

n - Adjustment parameter related to uniform pore distribution (van Genuchten’s model 1980)

N-NH - Ammonia nitrogen

O2 - Oxygen

pH - Potential of hydrogen

ψ - Suction

PZC - Point of zero charge

RETC - RETention curve software

S - Specimen

SiO2 - Silicon dioxide

SLRC - Soil leachate retention curve

SW(L)RC - Soil water and leachate retention curves

SWRC - Soil water retention curve

TiO2 - Titanium dioxide

USCS - Unified soil classification system

v. G. - van Genuchten fit

w - Gravimetric moisture content

W - Wetting pathway

wr - Residual gravimetric moisture content

ws - Gravimetric moisture content in saturated conditions

Funding Information

The authors thank Support Foundation for Research in the State of São Paulo (FAPESP) for supporting the research (process number 2010/18560-4), Consórcio RENOVA Ambiental, Maccaferri do Brasil Ltda. and the City of Campinas for their support in conducting the research, and the Brazilian Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) for financial support (finance code 001).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Transport and Geotechnical, School of Civil Engineering, Architecture and UrbanismUniversity of CampinasCampinasBrazil

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