An active landfill design for indefinite waste storage

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The design characteristics of an active waste disposal capsule placed within a saturated groundwater environment is investigated, with the objective of developing a methodology to determine environmentally, technically and economically feasible conditions for its operation. In operation, conditions are created and maintained within and surrounding a containment cell to insure that a potential for convective inflow exists everywhere across an encapsulating barrier which tends to counter the potential for outward dispersion through the barrier. A computer algorithm based on the finite element method has been developed in the BASIC language to aid in the hydraulic analysis. Essentially, it provides a numerical solution to potential flow through porous media for two dimensional anisotropic solution domains of various materials. Data generated from this algorithm for cases of varying geometric material and boundary properties are used to verify and quantify assumed relationships involving critical design parameters which have been developed through dimensional analysis and physical reasoning. An expression describing the concentration profiles developed across the barrier is obtained by solving the one-dimensional convection-dispersion equation for steady conditions within and bounding the capsule barrier. Applying this result to an identified critical point allows conservative barrier design criteria to be developed so that operation of the active capsule results in only negligibly small amounts of contamination escaping through the barrier to the environment. By introducing cost coefficients which are descriptive of various aspects of construction, operation and maintenance of the active capsule, a total cost function is formulated from which, when minimized with respect to various design variables, optimizing criteria are developed. Finally, a predictor-corrector optimization program which incorporates the results of this study is developed and used to investigate an illustrative problem.