Sepiolite as an alternative liner material in municipal solid waste landfills

GÜNEY Y., Koparal A. S., Aydilek A. H.

JOURNAL OF GEOTECHNICAL AND GEOENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING, vol.134, no.8, pp.1166-1180, 2008 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Compacted clay has traditionally been used as a lining material in municipal solid waste landfills. However, natural clays may not always provide good contaminant sorption properties. One alternative material that is abundant in some parts of Europe and Turkey as well as Western United States is sepiolite. A laboratory study was undertaken to investigate the feasibility of sepiolite as a liner material. Two clays, one rich in sepiolite and the other one rich in kaolinite mineral, as well as their mixtures were subjected to geomechanical, hydraulic, and environmental tests. The same soils were also subjected to strength and hydraulic conductivity tests after a series of freeze and thaw cycles. The results of the study indicated that relatively high hydraulic conductivity and shrinkage capacity of sepiolite necessitates addition of kaolinite before being used as a landfill material. The valence of the salt solutions affected the swell and hydraulic conductivity characteristics of the clays tested. Retardation factors for sepiolite for metal solutions are 1.2-2.2 times higher than those calculated for the clay that is rich in kaolinite, and the inorganic contaminant adsorption capacity of the clay can be improved by addition of sepiolite. The results indicated that the clay mixtures utilized in this study provide good geomechanical, hydraulic, and metal adsorption properties which may justify their potential use as a liner material in solid waste landfills.