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Forecasting settlements of non-hazardous waste is essential to ensure the integrity and durability of landfill covers over time. Over a short time span, the survey of settlements may also contribute to the investigation of the biodegradation processes. This paper addresses secondary settlements of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), a heterogeneous and time-evolving material. An analysis of available experimental data from different pilots and the literature was conducted to quantify the influence of biodegradation on MSW secondary settlements. After making assumptions about the various features of the waste and their constitutive relationships, a one-dimensional biomechanical model to predict the secondary settlement has been developed. The determination of the total secondary settlement was obtained by the addition of two separate parts, the mechanical settlement, due to creep, and the biochemical settlement, due to the degradation of the organic matter. The latter has been evaluated based on the observed biogas production. Using the data from different recent large-scale experiments that provide a monitoring of biogas production, a method for predicting the biochemically-induced settlements is proposed and validated on these tests. The relative contributions of mechanical and biochemical settlements are also calculated and discussed as a function of waste pre-treatment and operation conditions (biological pre-treatment, shredding, leachate injection). Finally, settlement may be considered as a relevant indicator for the state of biodegradation. 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


J-P Gourc, M J Staub, M Conte. Decoupling MSW settlement into mechanical and biochemical processes--modelling and validation on large-scale setups. Waste management (New York, N.Y.). 2010 Aug-Sep;30(8-9):1556-68

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PMID: 20381332

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