GGSS Field Trip to Altamont Landfill


Altamont landfill is nestled in the rolling hills of Livermore, CA and has been around since the 1980s. As all active landfills do, its been steadily growing to accommodate our daily wastes. Expansion of the Altamont landfill has converted a nearby rolling hills site (visited by GGSS in 2012) into a big excavation that we were able to visit. Thanks to Geosyntec, we got to have a close look at how the site is engineered to prevent watertable contamination while maintaining slope-stability. Special thanks go to Chris Hunt for providing the tour and the schematics seen below.


You can’t miss the entrance.


The meeting room had a to-scale version of the engineered foundation of the landfill showing the different layers.


Pumps used to extract leachate from the bottom-most permeable (gravel) layer of the liner.


Near the pumps was this minimap showing the layout of the tubes.


Overview of the construction-site


Geotextiles are sewn together by some pretty rugged grandmas.


Detail of the geotextile used to make an impervious barrier that keeps leachate out of the ground-water system.


Local fauna (cat).

DSC_0322We could see the bottom drain being built and shaped precisely* according to the engineered solution (*close enough). image001

Liner system details.

Bonus! Mixing bentonite with water…

The closest thing we got to a group picture.


And here is Chris driving: