Stability Analyses of Municipal Solid Waste Landfills with Decomposition

  • M. S. HossainEmail author
  • M. A. Haque
Original paper


A bioreactor landfill is operated to enhance refuse decomposition, gas production, and waste stabilization. Some of the potential advantages of bioreactor include rapid stabilization of waste, increased landfill gas generation, gain in landfill space, enhanced leachate treatment, and reduced post closure maintenance period. Due to the accelerated decomposition and settlement of solid waste, bioreactor landfills are gaining popularity as an alternative to the conventional Subtitle D landfills. However, the addition of leachate to accelerate the decomposition changes the physical and engineering characteristic of waste and therefore affects the geotechnical characteristics of waste mass. The changes in the physical and mechanical characteristics of solid waste with time and decomposition are expected to affect the shear strength of waste mass. The objective of this paper is to analyze the stability of solid waste slopes within the bioreactor landfills, as a function of time and decomposition. The finite element program PLAXIS is used for numerical modeling of bioreactor landfills. Stability analysis of bioreactor landfills was also performed using limit equilibrium program STABL. Finally the results from finite element program PLAXIS and limit equilibrium program STABL are compared. GSTABL predicted a factor of safety of more than 1 in all the cases analyzed, whereas PLAXIS predicted a factor of safety of less than 1 at advanced stages for a slope of 2:1. However, the interface failures between solid waste and landfill liners have not been considered in this paper.


Bioreactors landfills Slope stability Decomposition FEM analysis Municipal solid waste 


  1. Bogner JE, Reddy K, Spokas K (2001) Dynamic water balance aspects of bioreactor landfills. In: Proceedings Sardinia 2001, international solid and hazardous waste symposium, Cagliari, SardiniaGoogle Scholar
  2. FHWA (2003) Performance of permanent ground anchors for landslide stabilization, Final report FHWA-WY-03/03F, Laramie, WyomingGoogle Scholar
  3. Gabr MA, Hossain MS, Barlaz MA (2000) Solid waste settlement with leachate recirculation. Geotech News 2(18):50–55Google Scholar
  4. Gabr MA, Hossain MS, Barlaz MA (2007) Shear strength parameters of municipal solid waste with Leachate recirculation, Technical note, J Geotech Geoenviron Eng 133, 4 April 1, 2007Google Scholar
  5. Hossain MS (2002) Mechanics of compressibility and strength of solid waste in bioreactor landfills, Ph. D Thesis, NC State University, Raleigh, NCGoogle Scholar
  6. Kavazanjian E Jr, Matasovic N, Bonaparte R, Schmertmann GR (1995) Evaluation of MSW properties for seismic analysis, Geoenvironment 2000, ASCE Geotechnical Special Pub No. 46(2)Google Scholar
  7. Kavazanjian E Jr (2003) Evaluation of MSW properties using field measurements In: Proc., 17th GSI/GRI conference: hot topics in geosynthetics—IV, Las Vegas, NevadaGoogle Scholar
  8. Kölsch F, Ziehmann G (2004) Landfill stability–risks and challenges. Waste Management World, Issue May/June, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  9. Kolsch F, Fricke K, Mahler C, Damanhuri E (2005) Stability of landfills—the Bandung disaster. In: Proceedings of the 10th international landfill symposium, Cagliari, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  10. Landva AO, Clark JI (1990) Geotechnics of waste fill—theory and practice. ASTM STP 1070:86–103Google Scholar
  11. Matasovic N, Kavazanjian E Jr (1998) Cyclic characterization of OII landfill solid waste. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng ASCE 124(3):197–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Pacey J, Augenstein D, Morck R, Reinhart D, Yazdani R (1999) Bioreactive landfill. MSW Management Sept/Oct, 53–60Google Scholar
  13. Pohland FG (1975) Sanitary landfill stabilization with leachate recycle and residential treatment. EPA Grant No. R-801397, U.S.E.P.A. National Environmental Research Center, CincinnatiGoogle Scholar
  14. Pohland F, Cross W, Gloud J, Reinhart D (1993) Behavior and assimilation of organic and inorganic priority pollutants co-disposed with municipal refuse, EPA/600/R-93/137a. Risk Reduction Engineering Laboratory Office of Research and Development, Cincinnati, OHGoogle Scholar
  15. SCS Engineers (2005) Landfill bioreactor services. Technical bulletin,
  16. Townsend TG, Miller WL, Earle JFK (1995) Leachate recycle infiltration ponds. J Environ Eng ASCE 121:465–471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (2005) Basic facts: municipal solid waste.
  18. Zekkos DP, Bray JD, Riemer M, Kavazanjian E, Matasovic N, Stokoe KH, Rathje E, Chickey S, Seos B, Lee JJ (2005) A framework for developing the unit weight profile of municipal solid waste. In: Proc., Sardinia 2005, 3–7 October 2005Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of Texas at ArlingtonArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Bryant Consultants, Inc.CarrolltonUSA

Personalised recommendations