The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Seismic Response and Stability Analysis of Landfills


Landfill Performance


            The primary cause of damage of landfills stems from the induced seismic hazards from strong ground motions. These damages include landfill slope instability, liquefaction of the landfill foundation, lateral spreading, foundation settlement, landslides, disruptions of liner and cover system, gas emission control system, and water drainage control system (Krishna, 2009).

The performance philosophy of landfills under seismic loading is either “withstand without harmful discharge” or “withstand without damage.”  Subtitle D outlines that the waste containment system must be able to withstand MHA or the maximum horizontal acceleration. This can be evaluated by means of using the peak horizontal ground acceleration (PHGA) with a 90 percent chance of not being exceeded in the next 250 years or, once again, based off site-specific analysis (Kavazanjian & Matasovic, 2001).

The damage associated with a landfill from seismic loading has been classified in five categories by Matasovic et al, 1995. Matasovic classified the damages on a I-V scale, as per the nature of the damage, from little/no damage as category I to major damage as category V. Please refer to Figure 1.1 for specifics as outlined by Matasovic et al. (1995).    


Figure 1.1: Seismic landfill damage categories I - V (Matasovic et al, 1995)

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