Geotechnical Society of Edmonton

NEWS 2013

Posted August 26, 2013 (Updated October 9, 2013)

Event: October 21, 2013

GSE/CGS Cross Canada Lecture: Dr. Edward Kavazanjian, Jr., Arizona State University - Pre-Design Geotechnical Evaluation for Closure of the Oil Superfund Site Landfill (11th Ralph B. Peck Lecture)

Location: Faculty Club, University of Alberta

Time: 11:45am Registration, 12:15pm Lunch, 12:30pm Presentation

Cost: $30 Members, $40 Non-Members, $10 Students

The pre-design geotechnical investigation for closure of the Operating Industries, Inc. (OII) landfill significantly advanced the state of the art for solid waste landfill engineering. Rising almost 300 ft above grade with slopes as steep as 1.3H:1V, the “orphan” site was placed in the Superfund program in 1986. The landfill, which accepted primarily municipal solid waste, sits astride California State Highway 60 (the Pomona Freeway) and on top of an active earthquake fault considered capable of a magnitude 6.9 earthquake. Due its location, steep slopes and high seismic exposure, the landfill was deemed a “unique urban hazard” by the EPA. The pre-design geotechnical evaluation for closure of the landfill included in situ testing, large scale laboratory testing of waste in an on-site laboratory, seismic hazard and seismic site response analyses, and static and seismic stability analyses of the waste mass and existing interim soil cover. Two different blue-ribbon panels (one for EPA and one for the potentially responsible parties) composed of eminent geotechnical and landfill engineers provided oversight for the work.

Contributions to solid waste landfill engineering from the OII landfill pre-design geotechnical evaluation include a solid waste classification system, a method for in situ measurement of waste unit weight, and an enhanced understanding of the mechanical properties of solid waste, including unit weight, compressibility, shear strength, shear wave velocity, and equivalent linear shear modulus and equivalent viscous damping. This evaluation not only provided the basis for a final closure design that reduced estimated closure costs by tens of millions of dollars but also redefined the state-of-practice for evaluation of the static and seismic stability of municipal solid waste landfills. Many of the procedures and waste property relationships developed for the OII pre-design geotechnical investigation remain the state of practice today for solid waste landfill

Edward Kavazanjian, Jr., Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, NAE, is the Ira A. Fulton Professor of Geotechnical Engineering in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, USA. He joined the faculty at Arizona State University in August 2004 after 20 years as a practicing geotechnical engineer. Prof. Kavazanjian has Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Civil Engineering from M.I.T. and a Ph.D. in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.

Prof. Kavazanjian was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering in February 2013 in recognition of his work on design and construction of landfills and waste containment systems and on geotechnical earthquake engineering. Prof. Kavazanjian currently serves on the Board of Earth Sciences and Resources(BESR) of the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies of Science and Engineering as chair of the Committee on Geotechnical and Geological Engineering. He is a Past-President of the Board of Governors of the Geo-Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He is recipient from ASCE of the 2009 Ralph B. Peck Award for his published case history contributions to landfill engineering, the 2010 Thomas A. Middlebrooks Award for his paper on Shear Strength of Municipal Solid Waste, and the 2011 Karl Terzaghi Award for his ASCE publications on the analysis, design and construction of waste containment systems.

He has delivered keynote addresses and state of the art papers on waste containment systems and landfill engineering at several international conferences and is co-author of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidance document of RCRA Subtitle D (40CFR258) Seismic Design Guidance for Municipal Solid Waste Landfill Facilities. Prof. Kavazanjian is also recognized for his work on geotechnical seismic design of transportation systems. He is lead author of the FHWA guidance document of LRFD Seismic Analysis and Design of Transportation Geotechnical Features and Structural Foundations. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Arizona, California, and Washington and has served as Engineer of Record on numerous landfill and waste containment projects.

The CCLT is organized by the Canadian Geotechnical Society, with funding through the Canadian Foundation for Geotechnique.

Sponsorship provided by:

  • Golder Associates
  • BGC Engineering
  • EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd., a Tetra Tech Company
  • ConeTec Investigations


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7th Floor, Danadeo Innovation Center for Engineering
9211 - 116 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta
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