Synthetic turf system solves landfill erosion challenge

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Courtesy of Waste Advantage Magazine

After four years as landfill district manager for IESI Corp., Delaney Lewis was discouraged. Although one of the Louisiana landfills for which he was responsible exhibited ideal geology, the soil characteristics were not conducive to side slope maintenance.

The soil of the LaSalle/Grant landfill was highly erodible, exhibited a high plasticity index and had a natural pH of 4.0. Consequently, Lewis had spent every spring repairing the slopes, amending the soil with lime (4 tons per acre), seeding and hydro mulching, only to watch his hard work end up at the bottom of the landfill in sediment. He had tried everything he knew how to do, yet had failed at every attempt to rectify the problem. It became evident that success would require an unconventional approach.

Lewis and IESI South Region Engineer Mike Friesen asked industry veteran, Juene Franklin of Houston engineering firm Riley, Park, Hayden and Associates, Inc. if he knew of a solution. He directed them to a recently patented product developed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower postclosure liabilities for states and landfill owners. Franklin thought the product, a synthetic turf system, could mitigate slope failures such as those IESI had been experiencing.

A New Approach
The synthetic turf system, AgruAmerica’s (Georgetown, SC) ClosureTurf™, consists of three major components: 1) two layers of woven geotextiles with tufted UV-resistant polyethylene grass that is laid over,k 2) a 50 mil. LLDPE structured drainage geomembrane and infilled with 3) sand (see Figure 1). The geomembrane layer serves as the containment liner atop the landfill’s immediate soil cover. Integral 3.6mm studs on the top surface facilitate drainage, while integral 4.4mm spikes on the undersurface provide friction.

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