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Section I

Design Approach to Protect Water Resources from MSW Disposal


L. P. Jayawardena ,

National Water Supply & Drainage Board, LK
About L. P.

Deputy Resident Engineer

BSc. Eng. (Hons). MEng., PhD., CEng., MIE (SU)

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Shashi Mathur

Indian Institute of Technology, LK
About Shashi

Professor, Department of Civil Engineering

B.Tech (Hons). M.Tech., PhD.

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This innovative design provides the guideline for Engineers to locate a suitable site for MSW disposal. The design facilitates for a natural or compacted clay barrier with or without a leachate collection system.


The governing equation for one-dimensional contaminant transport model includes the effects of advection, dispersion, adsorption and decay of the contaminants in saturated soils. The model was solved by a hybrid numerical technique (Green Element Method) using Hermitian interpolation functions and validated for two case studies.


Subsequently, the analysis was conducted taking a finite mass of the contaminant as top boundary condition, while natural or flux condition was at the bottom.


The maximum relative concentration of the contaminant is determined as it percolates. Deducing from the results, design charts (Monographs) were developed to determine the minimum thickness of the barrier.


The principal design parameters are "Equivalent Leachate Heights" and "Darcy Velocities". The flow direction can be either downward or upward.


The Darcy velocity represents the hydro-geological condition while; the equivalent leachate height represents the density of the waste in a landfill and the prerequisite of leachate collection system.


Conservative contaminants are used for determining the minimum barrier thickness. However, the thickness is necessary to check for reactive contaminants.

How to Cite: Jayawardena, L.P. and Mathur, S., 2005. Design Approach to Protect Water Resources from MSW Disposal. Engineer: Journal of the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka, 38(4), pp.32–51. DOI:
Published on 22 Oct 2005.
Peer Reviewed


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