2014-2015 Fall Semester

CE 561

Topics in Environmental Geotechnology

Instructor: Prof.Dr.Erdal Çokça

Lecture Hours: Tuesday 14:40 -17:30

Room : TH1

Course Grade Distribution

  • 2 Midterm Exams (~50%)
  • 1 Home work (~15%)
  • 1 Final Exam (~35%)

Text Book: Geotechnology of Waste Management, 2nd Edition, Issa S. Oweis and Raj P. Khera

Reference books: Optional reference texts that you may want to consult are:

Koerner, R.M. (2005). Designing with Geosynthetics. Fifth Edition.

Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 2005.

Daniel, D.E. (1993). Geotechnical Practice for Waste Disposal. Chapman

and Hall, London

Course Description:

This course will focus on geotechnical aspects in the disposal of waste materials. Disposal of waste generated by people and industrial processes is an important issue. If this waste is not managed in a safe and reliable manner, then human health and the environment are at risk. Waste containment facilities (or landfills) are one of the most commonly used means for waste disposal. In addition, there are older sites where waste was not disposed safely and it has contaminated soil and groundwater.

We will explore material properties, technical principles, and practical issues related to the design and operation of landfills. Many of the topics that are discussed in this course are relevant to other fields of geotechnical engineering. A detailed outline of course topics is attached. We will rely primarily on lectures to understand the  following subjects:

Forms of Waste, Index Properties, Clay Minerals, Compressibility and Settlement, Shear Strength, Hydraulic Properties, Site Investigation, Site Selection, Ground Modification and Compaction, Liners, Leachate Generation and Collection, Caps, Foundation and Slope Stability, Gas Management.


Course Outline

Introduction to waste disposal field


Landfill Components and Functions

Materials in Waste Containment Systems

Constituents of Hazardous and Solid Waste

Physical and Chemical Characteristics (Index Properties, Strength,



Soil Types and Functions

Clay Mineralogy

Soil-Water-Electrolyte Interactions and Chemical Effects on Soil Properties


Geosynthetic Types and Functions

Flow through Landfill Liners

Single phase flow

Advection/diffusion of contaminants with retardation

Liner Systems

Compacted clay liners

Composite liners

Drainage Systems

Cover Systems

Water balance

Landfill Stability


Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

Understand the important characteristics of the waste containment, the responsibilities of a geotechnical engineer in this field

Understand the difference between hazardous and solid waste

Evaluate the impact of contaminants on the properties of soils

Analyze flow through soils

Partition mass of contaminants into water-solid phase

Develop a compaction procedure for a clay liner

Check the compaction quality using field tests

Basics of leak detection and seam testing

Interpret hydraulic performance of alternative landfill covers

Evaluate the suitability of different testing approaches for interface strength

Analyze the stability of a landfill liner and cover


Course Schedule

I will occasionally have to miss a class to addend conferences and other professional activities. It is vital that you check your e-mail frequently for updates to the course schedule and other pertinent information. Students will be asked for a convenient time to make up these lectures.



Exams will consist of a mixture between discussion and technical questions to evaluate your comprehension of the material. “formulas” will be provided on the exams, design charts and similar materials will be given when needed. In addition, you should bring a straight edge and calculator to the exams.



Students must attend minimum seventy percent (70%) of total class hours.

Civil Engineering Department