Landfill Failures Webinar from GSIBy Robert M. Koerner – The Geosynthetic Institute (GSI) holds a monthly webinar, and the February 12 session is sure to interest a great many who work in or whose work intersects with the discipline of geosynthetics. The topic: “Behavior and Analysis of 20 Solid Waste Landfill Failures.”
February 12
11:30 am – 1:00 pm EST
In comparison to the number of worldwide solid waste landfills that exist, the incidence of failure is quite small.  Nevertheless, when they do fail the mass of waste involved can be enormous.  Six of the 20 failures described in this webinar involved over 1,000,000 m3 of waste.  Three of the failures involved deaths.
The analysis of each failure using the computer program ReSSA (3.0) identified the most sensitive unknown variable, while individual reports identified the “triggering mechanism” which brought the already low FS-value into an incipient failure state.


Some of the salient findings include:

  •  7 of 11 unlined cases were rotational failures
  • 8 of 9 lined cases were translational failures
  • Service lifetimes were from 1 week to decades
  • Duration of failures was from 1 min. to a few hours
  • Average height of waste mass was 26 m
  • Height-to-length of failed waste was approximately 0.42
  • Average density of waste was 12.1 kN/m3
  • Average waste shear strength was 26° and 13 kPa
  • Geomembrane shear strength varied from 5.1 to 16.2° (none were textured)
  • Waste and/or liner shear strength was generally the greatest uncertainty
  • Liquids were involved in all 20 cases; i.e., in the waste, liner system or foundation soil and was invariably the “trigger” causing failure

This webinar should convince all involved and interested in landfill technology of the serious implications of failure and of the necessity for proper design, filling, cover and maintenance practices.

GSI Members qualify for a registration discount.

Robert M. Koerner is Director Emeritus of the Geosynthetic Institute (