California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Closure/Postclosure of Disposal Sites

Alternative Covers

The following provides discussions of a number of case studies in Alternative Cap or ACAP designs.

Under current Title 27, California Code of Regulations, (27 CCR), section 21090, all closed landfills are required to have installed a landfill cap or cover. The landfill cover is intended to maintain a protective seal to keep moisture and rain from penetrating the landfill waste and prevent exposure of the public and the environment to the disposed waste.

The cover must be of a thickness to prevent moisture intrusion into the waste, failure of the cover by erosion and structural or integrity failure, and to prevent the cover from being breached by digging or other activities by wildlife or humans. The cover is intended to protect public health and safety and the environment.

Current Title 27 regulations require a "prescriptive" cover design, one that is established by regulation and intended for use in closure of all landfills. The prescriptive cover, as outlined in Title 27, section 21090 a (1-3), shall contain:

  • A foundation layer of not less than 2 feet of appropriate materials.
  • Permeability layer not less than 1 foot thick and of hydraulic conductivity not more than 1.0 x 10-6 cm/sec.
  • Erosion resistant layer not less than 1 foot thick capable of sustaining vegetation and resistant to wind, raindrop impact, or runoff or mechanically resistant.

In recent years, some design exceptions have been allowed that fall outside the prescriptive standards imposed by Title 27, section 21090. These new cover designs can employ plastic high-density polyethylene (HDPE) layers, clay geotextiles and monolithic or mono-covers. The advent of bioreactors is creating another frontier in cover design. The Yolo County Landfill is one instance where a bioreactor is being employed.

Links

Presentations

Workshops in Southern California covered the topic of alternative caps and discussed the evapotranspirative concept (ET) of plants and final covers on landfills. The following links provide information covering this concept:

Bioreactors

Last updated: September 29. 2009
Closure and Technical Services, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/SWFacilities/TechServices/
Mike Wochnick: Michael.Wochnick@calrecycle.ca.gov (916) 341-6318