BROWN, GLENN A., Law/Crandall, Inc., Los Angeles, CA
ABSTRACT: Landfills, Engineering Geology, and Society: A Historical Perspective
The disposal of the waste generated by society has been a problem for centuries. It has only been within the last 80 yr that scientific and engineering endeavors have been used to help remedy the problem. The indiscriminate disposal of refuse on land (in "dumps") has historically led to public health problems. The sanitary landfill is the engineered solution to the dump problem. This methods has been popular since the mid-1950s. The siting, design, permitting, and construction of landfills have been regulatory driven since that time. The protection of water quality has been the motivating force.
The needs of society have been translated into acts, rules, and regulations. These criteria have created a niche for engineering geology in landfilling. In California, the California Division of Water Resources began writing "dump site" reports in 1951 by reviewing prior geologic and hydrologic information coupled with field observations (but without subsurface exploratory work). From this simple beginning, a sophisticated approach to the permitting of new landfills and retrofitting of existing landfills has been developed. Siting, design, permitting, and construction criteria were presented in the California Administrative Code (Title 23 Waters, Chapter 3 Subchapter 15, Discharge of Waste to Land) in early 1972. Grading operations related to landfill operations using engineering geol gists and geotechnical engineers have been excluded by Chapter 70 Section 7003 of the Uniform Building Code. Today, the engineering geologist is involved in a wide range of landfill activities including initial siting studies, drilling of monitoring wells, the search for liner materials, the performing of pumping tests, and the periodic reporting of monitoring results.
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Discovery Article #90992©1993 AAPG Pacific Section Meeting, Long Beach,
California, May 5-7, 1993.