Solid Waste Landfill Design

Upcoming dates (1)

Apr. 1-3, 2024

Madison, WI

Course Overview

Learn about the critical factors of solid waste landfill design, operations, evolving industry issues, and economics. Learn from expert and diverse course faculty (top-flight researchers, owners at the cutting edge of evolving practice, industry experts). Get a firm grasp of the background and design specifics to compete in this industry, including industry-leading information on the principles and practices of solid waste landfill development, design, construction, operations, and management. Understand practical emerging technologies including

       financial management of solid waste systems and airspace management
       polymer-based bentonite composites in geosynthetic clay liners
       landfill gas containment and management for emission control and regulatory drivers
       value-added design of gas-to-energy and gas-to-fuel projects
       waste relocation and expansion
       evolving issues with “hot” landfills
       the latest in geosynthetic products for geoenvironmental engineering
       performance-based and life cycle-based design

Who Should Attend?

  • Civil engineers and landfill designers
  • Landfill owners and operators
  • Local, county, and state regulatory agency staff and officials
  • Public works professionals and municipal engineers
  • Geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineers
  • Geological engineers, hydrogeologists, and geoscientists
  • Facility managers with on-site disposal cells
  • Contractors and estimators
  • Geosynthetic manufacturers and product representative
  • Planners

Additional Information

This course will guide you through the development process of a successful solid waste landfill, from cradle to grave. Industry experts -- including James Tinjum, Craig Benson, Mark Torresani and John Welch -- will share critical factors and insights.  Interactive discussion and idea exchange will be emphasized. Learn more and enroll today.

Course Outline

Day 1 – Landfill Development and Revenue Streams

A Brief History of Solid Waste Management and Design (Tinjum)

  • Introduction and course goals
  • Evolving contaminants, risks, and opportunities
  • Evolving standards-of-practice and performance-based design

Keynote: Financial Management of a Solid Waste System (Welch)

  • Solid waste economics
  • Evolving revenue streams and value-added processes
  • Planning financial outlays and tipping fee impacts
  • New technologies for metrics tracking, airspace management and analysis (compaction rates, equipment usage)
  • Planning for expansion (vertical and horizontal, greenfield sites

Investigating Hydrogeologic Conditions and Groundwater Monitoring (Leier-Engelhardt)

  • Designing an investigation program
  • Exploration methods
  • Monitoring wells and analysis of groundwater data

Borrow Source Investigations (Tinjum)

  • Properties of suitable liner/cover soil
  • Compaction specifications and QA/QC
  • Incorporating reasonable soil specifications
  • Composite barrier systems and performance calculations
  • Class Activity

Geosynthetic Design for Containment Systems (Tinjum)

  • Polymers 101
  • Geosynthetic types and functions
  • Contaminant transport mechanisms
  • Composite barrier systems and performance calculations

Geosynthetic Clay Liners (GCLs) (Benson)

  • Types and styles of GCLs
  • Compatibility with various types and leachate
  • Advances in polymer-amended bentonite

Day 2 – Designing from the Bottom Up

Geometric Design (Torresani)

  • Base grades
  • Slopes and Berming
  • Phasing

Liquid Management Systems, Part I (Daigle)

  • Leachate collection systems (drainage sand/stone, drainage geosynthetics, base grades and toe drains)
  • Geometrical design
  • Leachate head calculations
  • Pipe network, clean outs, pumps, and on-site storage

Liquid Management Systems, Part II (Daigle)

  • Effects on solid waste management systems
  • Dewatering system design an operation
  • Economic analysis of dewatering system

Final Covers for Waste Containment Facilities (Benson)

  • Functions and types of cover systems
  • Cover selection criteria
  • Design of cover drainage
  • Alternative Covers, design and PET calculations

Gas To Energy System Selection and Design (Welch)

  • Developing a solid waste biogas project
  • BioCNG selection, design, and operation
  • Financial consideration and clean fuel incentives
  • Pipeline-grade gas conversion

Tour of Dane County Landfill (Welch/Wienkes)

  • Gas to energy system tour
  • BioCNG system tour
  • Interim cover system and gas management
  • Expansion phasing

Day 3 – Evolving Topics in Landfill Management, Operations, and Risks

Landfill Drainage and Runoff Control (Powers)

  • Runoff amounts
  • Open channel flow and culverts
  • Sedimentation/detention basins

Slope Stability Basics, Approach, and Calculations/Analyses (Tinjum)

  • Failure modes, triggering mechanisms, and factors affecting landfill system stability
  • Measuring and incorporating interface values
  • Calculation approached and examples
  • Slope stability analysis and reporting

Gas Collection and Managing Air Emissions (Daigle)

  • Sources of landfill air emissions
  • Managing landfill air emissions
  • Monitoring and controlling landfill gas migration
  • Noxious/nuisance gas control

Elevated Temperature Landfills (Benson)

  • Chemical and physical indicators
  • Management
  • Order Control

Management of Leachate, Liquids, and Gases in Landfill (including PFAS) (Quinn/Wade)

  • Fate and Transport in Solid Waste Management Residuals
  • Liquids Management and Treatment
  • Remediation Technologies and Treatment
  • Life-Cycle and Economic Assessment

Developing a Viable Sustainability Campus (Wienkes

  • Life-Cycle Systems
  • Developing a Sustainability Campus
  • Opportunities to Improve the Sustainability of Waste Management

Day 4- Special Topics

Waste Relocation and Expansions (Torresani)

  • Environmental, regulatory, legal, and economic drivers
  • Health and safety considerations
  • Geotechnical considerations

Design of Coal Combustion Residual Impoundments and Landfills (Trast)

  • Transporting and relocating CCR
  • Solid waste management plan
  • Leachate characterization and management

A Novel and Sustainable Circular Economy Waste Management Strategy (Martin)

  • Responses to Changing Organic Waste Legislation
  • Process Modeling via Life-Cycle Assessment
  • Opportunities to Improve the Sustainability of Waste Management

Course Cloure (Tinjum)


"It was an awesome course! Highly recommend."
—Hailey Fitterer, HDR, Inc.

"Extremely helpful to get a taste of so much!"
—Nigel Baummer, HDR, Inc

"Wasn’t expecting this much pertinent information as a geologist and was pleasantly surprised."
—T.J. Daniel, Bunnell-Lammons Engineering

"Great information, networking, and references. Too often, binders/slide handouts are useless once back in the office, not the case here."
—Jason Hinds, FMG Engineering, Rapid City, SD

"Great technical discussions that gave reasons behind technical requirements and regulations."
—Noah Watt, Waste Management

"(Elevated Temperature Landfills) very, very informative. Big issue with clients, so truly helpful."
—Christian Kessler, WCGRP

"Very good topics presented by very qualified instructors. The course provides current relevant information for regulators, consultants, and landfill operators."
—Brent Luebbe, NE Dept. of Envir. Quality

"I thoroughly enjoyed this course and will recommend it to colleagues in the future."
—Aaron Lowell, Civil and Environmental Consultants

"I really enjoyed the course. Learning everything from the liner to the final cover systems definitely makes me more confident in looking through a plan set."
—Nick Dykstra, Cornerstone Environmental Group LLC

"Great overall course for all aspects of landfill design from permitting to closure."
—Rochelle Staples, Stantec Consulting Ltd.

"I came with a breadth of knowledge gained from 2 years of experience.  This class expanded the breadth and added depth."
—Spenser Harveg, Parkhill, Smith & Cooper


Craig Benson

Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

C. Lee Daigle

C. Lee Daigle, PE, is a registered professional engineer in civil engineering with over 20 years of experience in the landfill gas industry. Mr. Daigle started his career as an intern at a municipal solid waste landfill in Colonie, New York while attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. While interning, he was fully immersed in the operations, maintenance, and construction of landfill gas collection and control systems, which instilled him with a passion for the industry. Upon graduation, Mr. Daigle continued to focus on landfill gas, and expanded his expertise in landfill gas utilization feasibility assessment, design, regulatory compliance, construction, and operations. Mr. Daigle has worked on landfill gas collection systems in over 30 states/territories, three Canadian provinces, and several countries abroad. He has been responsible for the initial start-up and monitoring of collection and control systems and has performed data analysis and interpretation to assist in optimizing overall landfill gas system performance. He also performed construction management and construction quality assurance (CQA) services during the installation ofnumerous landfill gas extraction and treatment systems, giving him a strong understanding of the construction issues associated with the implementation of cost-effective landfill gas system designs. Since 2011, Mr. Daigle has expanded his practice into all areas of solid waste design including the design and permitting of municipal solid waste cells and closures. Recently, Mr. Daigle has been elected to the Solid Waste Association of North America's Board of Directors, Wisconsin Badger Chapter and currently serves as Vice President of the board.


Paula Leier-Engelhardt

Principal, HydroGeo Solutions LLC, Little Suamico, WI

Betsy Powers

Senior Project Manager/Civil Engineer, SCS Engineers, Madison, WI

Kenneth Quinn

Technical Director, Hydrogeologist, TRC Companies, Madison, WI

Krishna Reddy

Professor, University Scholar & Distinguised Researcher, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL

James Tinjum

James M. Tinjum, PE, PhD, F.ASCE, is an Associate Professor and Director of the Geological Engineering Program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Prior to his engagement as a faculty member at UW–Madison in 2008, Dr. Tinjum worked for 15 years in industry for prominent engineer-procure-construct firms and a Fortune 50 company. He has specialized technical knowledge in geoenvironmental and remediation engineering for landfills with industrial waste (lime kiln dust, cement kiln dust, foundry residuals, paper mill sludge, coal combustion residuals), municipal solid waste (particularly landfill liner and cover systems and the monitoring, recovery, and value-added use of landfill gases), and hazardous waste. He conducts research in waste geotechnics and waste containment systems; the beneficial reuse of industrial byproducts (e.g., for subgrade improvement and cementitious stabilization of pavement layers); life cycle environmental analysis of geo systems; remediation of contaminated sites; and heat transfer in porous media (soil and rock). Dr. Tinjum developed these interests not only through industry practice and applied research, but also through discussions and interactions with practitioners participating in his nationally/internationally attended engineering short course programs. In applied practice, Dr. Tinjum has participated in over 50 solid waste projects.  

Mark Torresani

Vice President/Engineer, Cornerstone Environmental Group, LLC, Madison, WI

Amanda Wade

TRC Companies, Inc. Madison, WI

John Welch

Dane County, Madison, WI

Paul Wintheiser

AECOM, Sheboygan, WI

Upcoming dates (1)

Program Director

James Tinjum

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