Solid and hazardous waste landfills are required by federal, state, and/or local regulations to cover waste materials prior to or as part of final closure. These final covers are only one element of landfill systems, which may include a liner or multiple liners, the actual waste material, a cover, run-on and run-off control features, security, groundwater monitoring networks, and settlement monitoring markers.
The Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) developed a guidance document (Design, Installation and Monitoring of Alternative Final Landfill Covers) and this associated training course to provide tools and resources when considering the application of alternative final landfill covers. The ITRC guidance and training course focus on a class of landfill final covers ("alternative" covers) as integral parts of an overall landfill system that differ in both design and operational theory from those designs prescribed in RCRA regulations. Several primary types of alternative landfill covers have been proposed for solid, hazardous, and mixed waste landfills; however the design is in the science and engineering and should not be categorized or prescriptive. Alternative covers have been constructed and are fully operational at industrial waste, construction debris, municipal solid waste, and hazardous waste landfills. Alternative final covers (AFCs) may be used on bioreactors landfill, conventional landfills, or other types of landfills. Types of AFCs may include, but not limited to, asphalt covers, concrete covers, capillary barrier covers and evapotranspiration (ET) covers. This training and associated guidance focuses on ET covers and the decisions associated with their successful design, construction, and long-term care. The ITRC Alternative Landfill Technologies (ALT) team believes that the solid and hazardous waste regulations clearly provide a mechanism to permit, design, construct, and maintain landfills with alternative cover design.