Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Engineering (Research)


Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Mr. John P. Murphy

Second Advisor

Dr. Joseph R. Harrington


Construction and demolition (C&D) waste and dredge material are significant bulk waste streams in the Republic of Ireland. This thesis examines the feasibility of combining these waste streams to produce a viable novel geotechnical clay liner for landfill.

This thesis includes a literature review and a detailed study of C&D waste, dredge material and landfill liners in Ireland. The research for this thesis includes a geotechnical laboratory test programme. Samples of C&D waste and dredge material were collected and tested to establish relevant characteristics. In addition, a senes of tests were commissioned on test samples to establish their chemical and organic properties. A methodology was developed to model a composite sample on a typical natural liner material. The composite material was tested to evaluate the possibility of producing a matenal suitable for use as a geotechnical clay liner.

Landfill was the only option available for the two million tonnes of Municipal Waste disposed of in Ireland in 2006. A demonstration C&D waste recycling project showed that there was an excess of fine material, indicating that up to 8 million tonnes of fine material is generated annually. The Republic of Ireland currently generates on average approximately 1.2 million wet tonnes of silt and clay in dredge material annually. This material has primarily been disposed offshore.

The technical, economic and environmental feasibility of producing a geotechnical clay liner from C&D waste and dredge material is examined. The analysis examines the extraction and the transportation of the source materials and the processing and placing the composite material. The technical analysis identifies regions in Ireland generating sufficient volumes of C&D waste and dredge material to satisfy annual landfill lining material requirements. The economic analysis examines the cost of each stage of a potential application of the composite material and compares that with the cost associated with traditional lining materials. The thesis demonstrates that while it is technically feasible to produce a geotechnical clay liner from the composite material it does not appear to be economically feasible to do so.

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