Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Booth, Colin J.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Geology


Seepage; Sanitary landfills--Illinois


Current methods of estimating infiltration and leachate production at landfills do not consider fracturing of the cover material or subsidence which may lead to ponding of rainfall. This detailed study specifically addresses infiltration at an older northeastern Illinois landfill where fracturing of the cover material and subsidence have occurred. Both field and laboratory techniques were employed in the investigation. Field work included monitoring changes in soil moisture using tensiometers and soil moisture blocks, both ring and sprinkler infiltrometer experiments, measurement of changes in pond depths, collection and quantification of runoff, and electrical resistivity surveying. Laboratory work on cover samples consisted of hydraulic conductivity and bulk density measurements, size analysis and x-ray diffractrometry. Surface waters were analyzed for major anions and cations. The results of the study indicate that fractures penetrate completely through the cover and are major conduits for infiltration, that seepage from the ponds also contributes significantly to infiltration during the spring and fall, and that infiltration during the summer months appears to be limited to percolation through fractures. The laboratory results indicate that the cover can be divided into a high permeability topsoil layer and a low permeability compacted-till layer, which implies that lateral flow may occur along the boundary between the two layers. Comparison of infiltration estimated from the study results with the EPA water-balance method and estimates based on changes in leachate levels within the deep gas vents suggests that the water-balance method at an older landfill with fractured cover underestimates infiltration and that the leachate-level method overestimates infiltration.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 158-165)


xi, 233 pages




Northern Illinois University

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