Evaluation of Contamination of Groundwater around Landfills

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Contract Period:

7/1/2003 - 6/30/2005

Funding Source:


  • Tuncer Edil, UW-Madison
  • Craig Benson, UW-Madison
  • Jack Connelly

Wisconsin relies on groundwater as a primary source of drinking water. Therefore, protecting groundwater is essential to the health and welfare of Wisconsin’s residents. A variety of threats to groundwater quality exist. Solid waste landfills constitute a potential major threat, because more than 10 million tons of solid waste is landfilled in Wisconsin annually. Accordingly, assessing the level and pervasiveness of contamination of groundwater associated with engineered landfills in Wisconsin is imperative. The study being proposed will make this assessment through a two-phase investigation. The first phase consists of a comprehensive evaluation of data collected by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) characterizing the chemical constituents in leachate, pan lysimeters, gradient control layers, and monitoring wells associated with engineered landfills in Wisconsin. The second phase will evaluate the causes and mechanisms of contaminant transport in engineered landfills, and if necessary develop plans to prevent future contamination. The second phase will take advantage of recent advances in understanding and modeling contaminant transport through liner systems, including composite liner systems. This project would be conducted jointly by investigators from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and staff from WDNR.

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