U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division

Alternative Landfill Cover Project Profiles

Description of the Web Site

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation (OSRTI) is interested in providing federal and state project managers, and others, with timely information about developments in the field of alternative landfill covers. This Web site contains information on proposed, tested, or installed alternative landfill covers at waste disposal sites, including municipal solid waste and hazardous waste landfills and radioactive waste sites. As of August 2011, the Web site included information on 223 projects. Profiles include four types of alternative landfill covers: monolithic evapotranspiration (ET) covers, capillary barrier ET covers, asphalt covers, and bioengineering management covers. These alternative cover designs are increasingly being considered for use at waste disposal sites, including municipal solid waste and hazardous waste landfills and radioactive waste sites. This Web site can be used as a networking tool (each profile lists a contact) to identify past solutions and lessons learned that would apply to new sites with similar contaminants and climate.

The cover design alternatives primarily captured in this Web site are based on managing the hydrological processes (water balances principles) at a site, which include precipitation, evapotranspiration, infiltration, surface runoff, and water storage in soil. The following types of cover design alternatives are included in this web site:

  • Monolithic Evapotranspiration (ET) covers — Conceptually, the design of this cover consists of a single layer of soil to retain water until it can be removed through transpiration and evaporation mechanisms. The ET cover system relies on the water storage capacity of the soil to minimize infiltration.
  • Capillary Barrier ET Covers — This design concept involves a layer of finer-grained soil overlying a layer of coarser-grained material to minimize infiltration. Through capillary forces, water is stored in the finer-grained soils and will not move into the coarser-grained layer until the finer-grained soils approach saturation. As with monolithic ET covers, water is removed in the finer-grained layer through transpiration and evaporation.
  • Other Cover Types:
    • Bioengineering management covers — In addition to enhancing water storage in soil and mechanisms of evapotranspiration, this alternative cover design uses extensive surface runoff controls to minimize infiltration. The concept involves installing impermeable panels over part of the cover surface to achieve high and controlled levels of surface runoff. Vegetation is planted between the impermeable panels to remove stored water.
    • Modified asphalt covers — This cover design consists of improving the permeability of conventional asphalt concrete by adding proprietary binder with tightly specified aggregates.

The alternative landfill cover project profiles describe the use of design alternatives to conventional cover systems at specific sites. The profiles contain a summary of available information, including:

  • Site Information
    • Site name, location, and waste type
    • Bottom liner
    • Climate, annual precipitation, and geologic and hydrogeologic setting
  • Project Information
    • Cover type, scale, status, and date installed
    • Purpose of project and performance criterion
    • Regulatory authority and status
    • Monitoring system
  • Cover Information
    • Cover design and size
    • Description of soil and vegetation types
    • Cover installation
    • Summary of water balance modeling
    • Additional information
  • Performance and Cost Information
    • Summary of performance data
    • Maintenance
    • Summary of costs
    • Additional information
  • Points of Contact
  • References

The cover profiles have varying level of detail, depending on the data and the information available for each cover.

Data Sources

EPA obtained data from site managers, regulatory officials, and technology providers, as well as published reports, conference proceedings, and other available reference materials to prepare the profiles.

How to Search the Web Site

The web site provides a search engine that allows a user to search the profiles by cover type, project scale, project status, state, or site name. A user may also select the button "List All," which presents a list of all available profiles. Search results are sorted alphabetically by site name.

How to Submit an Alternative Landfill Cover Project Profile

EPA encourages project managers, site owners, and technology providers to add new profiles on alternative landfill covers. To submit a new alternative landfill cover project profile, select the "Submit a New Alternative Landfill Cover Project Profile" button. The on-line form allows users to select options from drop-down boxes where appropriate and to provide numerical or text data where drop boxes are not provided. If information is not available for a specific data field, the field should be left blank. After EPA reviews the profile, it will be added to the Web site. Please be sure to provide contact information, including name, telephone number, and e-mail address.

How to Update an Alternative Landfill Cover Project Profile

Once information is provided, it may be updated to: (1) add more recent data; (2) add data for more fields; or (3) correct errors in existing data. To update an existing alternative landfill cover project profile, select the "Update an Alternative Landfill Cover Project Profile" button and submit the information. As with new project profiles, EPA will review the updates before they are added to the Web site.

Additional Resources

EPA resources containing general information about final covers for municipal solid waste landfills are available at the EPA Office of Solid Waste. In addition, many of the covers included in this web site are based on projects conducted by Sandia National Laboratories and the Desert Research Institute, including the document Alternative Cover Assessment Program (ACAP) — 2002 Annual Report on CLU-IN.

Future Plans for the Web Site

EPA is preparing more profiles and links for detailed information on alternative landfill cover projects and is seeking additional profiles on sites that have used these covers.

Feedback on this Web Site

Send your feedback and comments to Cindy Frickle of EPA's Technology Innovation Program by e-mail at or by telephone at (703) 603-8763.

Top of Page