The term “Landfill Engineering” refers to a part of a new scientific-technological discipline developed since the end of the twentieth century: Environmental Geotechnology.
In the recent years, the progress in the development of waste treatment projects (new treatment plants or technological and process improvements) has been reflected to a lesser extent in construction, management and the closure of landfills. While it is true that there has been progress and there have been improvements in technology (advanced materials used for drainage and waterproofing for example), these have not evolved in the same way in design and management. Primarily this can be caused due to the lack of incentive for these kind of projects, especially considering that environmental policies and legislation are aimed at reducing the final disposal of waste in landfills and avoid building new disposal sites.
BIM TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION IN THE “LANDFILL ENGINEERING” PROJECTS DEVELOPMENT
Thanks to the international strategy of IDP, it has allowed us to access new markets where the commitment to the development of new approaches in “Engineering Landfills” projects has a greater impact. Such commitment has been focused on the integration of BIM technology in such kind of projects, covering all stages of the facility life cycle (construction, management, degassing, capping etc). It is true that BIM technology is used for several years in architecture and linear works in civil engineering. However, in environmental projects such an integration is much more complex due to the difficulties to assimilate a standardized methodology for all cases.
Today, after having developed 15 projects related to closures and the construction of new landfills within the last two years, we succeed to implemented a standard BIM methodology that takes into account all phases of construction (excavation, installation of liners, drainage networks etc), operation (temporary disposal of waste, construction of biogas extraction wells etc) and the closing (construction of capping layers, site monitoring activities…).
Our philosophy is to use BIM from the start of the project. This allows us to have a virtual BIM model during the entire project lifetime, which contributes to the general understanding of the project and allows to work with a maximum accuracy. It also allows us to deliver a temporary monitoring of works by simulating construction sequences and detect interferences between elements (leachate networks and liners for example). All this, together with automated measurements control and budget, offers a new view in addressing such kind of environmental projects.
FUTURE OUTLOOK FOR BIM TECHNOLOGY IN LANDFILL ENGINEERING
Regarding the near future, the successful implementation of BIM technology in “Engineering Landfills” should not be based only on its application into traditional construction projects, but it should adapt to new approaches in this area such as “Landfill Mining” as well as to promote its use by site managers, improving the optimization of resources and helping on site operation, monitoring and maintenance tasks.