The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Seismic Response and Stability Analysis of Landfills

Part I: Seismic Design and Performance




           Our project is a literature review of scholarly papers and will attempt to cover select topics in the realm of earthquakes and landfills with a condensed discussion of the topic at hand. An attempt to compile and organize information from several papers will be made as well throughout the course of the paper. The first part of this paper is focused on a general overview of seismic design. The second part of this paper will converge to a discussion regarding geomembranes and liner systems in the context of seismic activity.

In 1993, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act or RCRA’s Title 40 CFR Subtitle D initiated interest in the field of seismic performance of landfills. Subtitle D provided the Federal minimum for seismic design criteria and was assumed to be applicable to Subtitle C landfills since Subtitle C had no direct mention of anything relating to seismic design criteria. As a result, there was a noticeably disproportionate discussion about Subtitle D versus Subtitle C in our literature review as reflected in our paper. Note, however that, states such as California, a state prone to earthquakes, has much more stringent and specific requirements regarding landfill seismic design (Kavazanjian & Matasovic, 2001).

With this said, seismic design of landfills is heavily dependent on project and site specificities. With dependence on project-specific data comes uncertainty associated with waste composition which are overcome by utilizing parametric and sensitivity numerical studies (Kavazanjian & Matasovic, 2001). 

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