Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Engineering and Applied Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

McManis, Kenneth

Second Advisor

Easley, Dale

Third Advisor

LaMotta, Enrique

Fourth Advisor

Boutwell, Gordon

Fifth Advisor

Nataraj, Mysore

Sixth Advisor

Stoessell, Ronald


A relatively new concept of Municipal Solid Waste treatment is known as bioreactor landfill technology. Bioreactor landfills are sanitary landfills that use microbiological processes purposefully to transform and stabilize the biodegradable organic waste constituents in a shorter period of time. One of the most popular types of bioreactor landfills is the landfill with leachate recirculation. However, it is observed that ammonia rapidly accumulates in landfills that recirculate leachate and may be the component that limits the potential to discharge excess leachate to the environment. In the facultative landfill, leachate is nitrified biologically using an on-site treatment plant and converted by denitrifying bacteria to nitrogen gas, a harmless end-product. In this research, three pilot-plant scale lysimeters are used in a comparative evaluation of the effect of recirculating treated and untreated leachate on waste stabilization rates. The three lysimeters are filled with waste prepared with identical composition. One is being operated as a facultative bioreactor landfill with external leachate pre-treatment prior to recirculation, the second is being operated as an anaerobic bioreactor landfill with straight raw leachate recirculation, and the third one is the control unit and operated as a conventional landfill. Apart from environmental restrictions, geotechnical constraints are also imposed on new sanitary landfills. The scarcity of new potential disposal areas imposes higher and higher landfills, in order to utilize the maximum capacity ofthose areas. In this context, the knowledge of the compressibility of waste landfills represents a powerful tool to search for alternatives for optimization of disposal areas and new solid waste disposal technologies. This dissertation deals with and discusses the environmental and geotechnical aspects of municipal solid waste landfills. In the Environmental Engineering area, it compares the quality of the leachate and gas generated in the three lysimeters and discusses the transfer of the technology studied through lysimeters to procedures for full-scale operation. In the geotechnical area, this dissertation discusses the compressibility properties of the waste and provides a state-of-the-art review of MSW compressibility studies. It also evaluates the compressibility of MSW landfills for immediate and long-term settlements and proposes a new model for compressibility of waste landfills.


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