Solid Waste Landfill Design

See upcoming dates

Course Overview

After attending this course, you will have a firm grasp of the background and design specifics necessary to compete in this industry, including industry-leading information on the principles and practices of solid waste landfill development, design, construction, and management. Understand practical emerging technologies including polymer-based bentonite composites in geosynthetic clay liners, landfill gas containment and management for emission control and regulatory drivers, design of gas-to-energy projects, management of CCR landfills and impoundments, and characterization and management of industrial residuals.

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

Our Brief History of Solid Waste Containment (Tinjum)

  • Evolving contaminants, risks, and opportunities
  • Performance-based landfill design

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

  • Solid waste economics
  • Evolving revenue streams and value-added processes
  • Planning financial outlays
  • New technologies for metrics tracking, (compaction rates, equipment usage) and airspace management
  • Siting a new landfill

Investigating Hydrogeologic Conditions and Groundwater Monitoring (Leier-Engelhardt)

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

Waste Relocation and Expansions (Torresani)

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

Tour of Dane County Landfill (Virtual)

  • Drone Survey
  • Phasing
  • Gas-to-Energy plants
  • Operations
  • Recycling facility

Gas to Energy: System Selection and Design

Recorded interview with John Welch, Dane County Director of Waste and Renewables

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

Day 2 – Designing from the Bottom Up

Keynote: Performance-Based Landfill Design (Benson)

  • 50-year history of evolving and improved performance through new materials, design/construction methods, and CQA
  • Key factors that affect the transport of contaminants through containment systems
  • Calculations and perspectives of contaminant flux
  • Considerations of performance-based design in lieu of specification-based design 

Geometric Design (Torresani)

  • Base grades
  • Slopes and beaming
  • Phasing

Clay Borrow Investigation and Compacted Clay Liners, CCLs (Tinjum)

  • Properties of suitable liner soils
  • Borrow source investigation
  • Compaction conditions and QA/QC

Geosynthetic Clay Liners (Benson)

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

Geosynthetic Design for Containment Systems (recorded for review at your convenience)

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

Stability of Cover Systems

Recorded interview with Dr. Craig Benson, Dean of the University of Virginia College of Engineering

  • Basics and perspective
  • Measuring and incorporating interface values
  • Calculations approaches and examples

Day 3 – Landfill Construction and QA/QC

Liner Integrity/Electrical Leak Location Surveys (Blum)

  • Defect characteristics
  • Leak detection, basic physics
  • Equipment, techniques, and calibration
  • Electrical resistivity surveys

Keynote: 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

Landfill Design Sets and Construction Management (Torresani)

  • Specification and plan sets
  • Bid packages and bid evaluation
  • Construction and field QA/QC

Landfill Drainage and Runoff Control (Powers)

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

Liquid Management Considerations

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

Elevated Temperature Landfills

Recorded interview with Dr. Craig Benson, Dean of University of Virginia College of Engineering

  • Chemical and physical indicators
  • Management
  • Odor control

Landfill Cover Stormwater Calculations

  • Available programs
  • Calculation approaches
  • Calculation examples

Day 4 – Landfill Operations and Evolving Risks

Keynotes: Perfluoroakyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Containment Systems (Eykholt, Quinn, and Wade)

  • History and use
  • Naming conversions and physical/chemical properties
  • Environmental sources and sinks
  • Regulation, guidance, and advisories
  • Analytical techniques to detect and quantify PFAS
  • Fate and transport in solid waste management residuals
  • Liquids management and treatment
  • Remediation technologies and treatment

Gas Collection and Managing Air Emissions (Wintheiser) 

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

Leachate Recirculation and Bioreactor Landfills (Dr. Reddy)

  • Conventional versus bioreactor landfills
  • Regulations and practice-based considerations
  • Design of leachate recirculation systems
  • Operational and monitoring considerations
  • Economics

Landfill Health Assessment and Airspace Surveys via Drone Technologies

Recorded interview with Chris French, President of ACERTAS LLC

  • Landfill cover health assessment
  • Airspace surveys and volume calculations
  • Evolving technologies 


"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

Jeffrey Blum

Senior Project Manager, Weaver Consultants Group, Grand Rapids, MI

C. Lee Daigle

Senior Project Manager, Tetra Tech, Madison, WI

Paula Leier-Engelhardt

Principal, HydroGeo Solutions LLC, Little Suamico, WI

Jerry Eykholt

Senior Environmental Engineer, Wood PLC, Madison, WI

Chris French


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

Dr. James M. Tinjum, PE, is responsible for outreach, research, and continuing engineering education in the areas of geotechnical, geoenvironmental, and energy geotechnics with an emphasis on transmitting practical research applications directly to the engineering community. Over the past ten years, he has specialized (consulting, expert support, and research) in foundation investigation, monitoring, and research into foundations for wind turbine generators. 

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)

Mar. 28-30, 2022

Madison, WI
Enroll Now

Program Director

James Tinjum

Contact Us