Laboratory studies to evaluate the performance of landfill cover layers for the reduction of gases emissions and infiltrations

ABSTRACT Landfill cover layers are built to prevent the release of gases into the atmosphere and the inflow of liquids into the landfill, minimizing impacts on the environment. This study evaluated, through the testing of soil columns in the laboratory, the performance of two cover layers, comprehending the behavior of the soils as a function of methane emissions and liquid flows in its interior. Two configurations were used in the soil layer: Column 1, conventional layer with compacted soil of 0.60 m thickness and 80% degree of compaction; and Column 2, oxidative layer with 0.30 m thickness of soil and 80% degree of compaction, stuck by a layer of 0.30 m of mixed soil with composted product in the volume ratio of 1:1 with 76% degree of compaction. After the confection of the columns (0.60 m in height and 0.15 m in diameter), methane gas was injected into the inferior part of the columns with a concentration of 100% at a flow rate of 0.5 L/h (8.3 mL/min or 486 g/ to evaluate the emission reduction. Subsequently, a rain of 40 mm was simulated - being 30 mm in one day and 10 mm three days after the first simulation -, and both the methane emissions and the infiltration of water in the columns were evaluated. The obtained results indicate that the two column configurations of landfill cover layers presented satisfactory results, reducing the volume of liquids into the landfill and minimizing the methane emissions into the atmosphere. It is observed that Column 2 (0.30 m of soil + 0.30 m of soil + composted product) was more efficient in the reduction of emissions, as well as in the retention capacity of water in relation to Column 1 (0.60 m of soil), suggesting that oxidative layers can become a technological alternative for regions where there is scarcity of clay soils.