Municipal and Industrial Solid Waste

S&ME offers our clients turn-key project services from preliminary investigation, land acquisition, permitting, design, through to construction and operations. We further assist our clients in attaining and maintaining regulatory compliance and in facilitating timely, cost-effective decisions related to managing solid waste.

Management Planning

S&ME understands that management and planning is important to a successful solid waste management program.  Our experience and services include regulatory compliance and management, program planning and evaluation, public relations, management of information systems, and financial planning and management.

Permitting Assistance/Regulatory Liaison

S&ME understands the regulatory solid waste permitting process and the various permits required for construction, operation, modification, and closure solid waste facilities.  S&ME provides technical assistance to owners/operators, and their attorneys by preparing both state and EPA permits.  Our experience includes landfills designed for municipal solid waste (MSW), construction and demolition debris (C&D), and industrial waste landfills.  Our ongoing work with regulatory agencies and participation in the local solid waste management community enables our technical staff to provide accurate and timely assistance with the regulatory community.

Site Investigation

Developing a new landfill or expansion of an existing facility begins with an assessment to evaluate the site’s potential for supporting waste disposal operations.  S&ME conducts preliminary desktop studies to screen sites, identifying and assessing:

  • Zoning restrictions
  • Existing hazardous environment
  • Floodplains, wetlands, and nearby airports
  • Hydrogeologic characteristics: aquifers, ground water recharge areas, and public surface or well water supplies
  • Topography
  • Geology
  • Proximity to urban areas and major roads
  • Population density
  • Wetland/stream permitting and mitigation
  • Archaeological historical and endangered species
  • Borrow soil studies

Conceptual Engineering Design

In the early stages of landfill development or expansion, S&ME professionals consider alternative design schemes appropriate for the subject site.  Conceptual facility design typically includes

  • Evaluation and consideration of a cell and cap design to maximize air space
  • Definition of the minimum closure system required to satisfy regulatory criteria
  • Review of general site requirements.

These elements, along with federal, state, and local regulatory requirements and existing technologies to achieve appropriate solutions, are reviewed with the client.

Hydrogeologic Investigation and Design

S&ME conducts detailed hydrogeologic investigations and design, typically after initial site investigations and conceptual design for new permits or in preparation for permit-to-construct applications for the expansion of existing facilities.  We further evaluate the geologic and groundwater flow characteristics, including aquifer testing, and prepare a water quality monitoring plan with the selection of monitoring well details and locations.  We also estimate the seasonal high groundwater levels and top of bedrock in order to meet the regulatory agency’s base of liner separation requirements.


In the early stages of development of an expansion or new facility, our professionals consider alternative containment system designs for the facility.  Considering the various alternatives allows us to find the preferred containment system (liner and cover system) for site conditions that will maximize air space and improve cost-effectiveness, while considering constructability and long term facility operations.  We understand the various geosynthetic components used in liner and cover systems and how various materials and products may be combined to best suit site specific conditions while satisfying regulatory requirements.  In addition to containment system design, S&ME understands the engineering design, analyses, construction, and operation of leachate management, landfill gas management and storm water management systems.

Leachate Management

S&ME understands that leachate management is a critical and challenging component of the landfill operations.  To that end, our goal is to design a leachate collection, removal, storage/discharge, and pre-treatment system that is cost effective while considering the operations and maintenance of the system.  We evaluate, design, and develop a leachate management system that meets our clients’ needs and conditions of the facility.  In particular, we understand how facilities can be designed and operated to minimize leachate generation, and satisfy recently enacted state requirements for inspection and cleanout.

Landfill Gas Management

We also understand that landfill gas management is a critical landfill design component, and one owners need to address as MSW landfills continue operations.  We believe that the initial landfill gas management strategy begins with planning to identify the point in time when the owner needs to develop an active gas collection and control system and appropriate preparation for that time.  S&ME is capable of designing and permitting a gas management system that is proactive to provide the ability to monitor and analyze the collection of landfill gas.

Storm Water Management

Proper storm water management is critical for long term performance, operations and maintenance of landfill facilities.  In order to meet storm water management regulations and operation concerns, we design hydraulic control systems to collect and detain storm water and minimize erosion of sediment.  Storm water management systems are designed and developed in compliance with applicable storm water permits and regulations.

Construction Management and Construction Quality Assurance (CQA)

S&ME engineers and technicians have many years of experience in providing construction administration, construction management, and construction quality assurance (CQA) services for solid waste management projects.  With the S&ME foundation set deep in the geotechnical and construction materials testing industry we have a legacy and strong network of experienced professional personnel, engineering technicians, and laboratory capabilities to support construction efforts.

Our construction administration capabilities include:

  • Overseeing the bidding process and selection of a contractor
  • Running regular construction progress meetings
  • Reviewing contractor submittals and shop drawings
  • Managing contractor requests for information and change orders
  • Verifying material quantities
  • Reviewing progress payment applications

CQA is an integral part of landfill construction because of the complexity involved in constructing multiple layers of synthetic components and low permeability soil liners.  S&ME provides a full range of services for CQA of landfills.  The monitoring and testing of the field seams of geomembranes are essential parts of construction monitoring.  S&ME has CQA experience with municipal and private MSW and C&D landfills and surface impoundments, industrial landfills, RCRA closure caps at DOE facilities, and tank liners.  The goal of the S&ME’s CQA services is to confirm that construction is completed in accordance to the design and to provide sufficient documentation for final permitting of the facility by the appropriate regulatory agency.

Ground Water Assessment/Monitoring

Ground water is one of the primary pathways for the migration and exposure of contaminants to people away from landfill sites.  S&ME has the capabilities and experience to address ground water contamination assessment, monitoring, and remedial action for landfills.  For contaminated or suspect sites, we provide the following services:

  • Nature and Extent Study (NES)
  • Alternate Source Demonstration (ASD)
  • Assessment of Corrective Measures (ACM)

If the site requires it, S&ME can:

  • Prepare and implement a corrective action plan (CAP)
  • Negotiate with regulatory agencies
  • Develop QA/QC Plans for work activities
  • Implement corrective action.
  • Provide compliance monitoring of leachate, landfill gas, groundwater and surface water.

Closure and Post-Closure Monitoring and Compliance

S&ME also provides environmental monitoring and compliance services during and after closure of solid waste management facilities.  Our services include groundwater monitoring, compliance, and reporting, landfill gas monitoring, compliance, and reporting, developing storm water pollution prevention plans, conducing leachate and surface water monitoring, and various operational assistance.

Regulations require closure and post-closure plans with a 30-year post-closure monitoring period.  Our engineers and environmental professionals develop appropriate inspection and monitoring requirements to satisfy regulatory requirements, as well as provide contingency plans in the event contaminants are detected in the monitoring systems.

S&ME provides engineering services for site reuse under Brownfields regulations, including design of cover, landfill gas and storm water systems.

Employing Advanced Technology

S&ME employs advanced technologies to help clients manage information on their waste management sites. We can integrate disparate data from a variety of programs into a cohesive system, allowing clients to better control their operations. Our arsenal of programs includes:

  • Web Mapping. S&ME integrates GIS (geographical information system) information into a web browser to create maps that allow a user to interact with dynamic site information.
  • Three Dimensional Modeling. S&ME can place spatially referenced data, such as GIS or CAD, into a three dimensional scene that not only enhances the visual experience but also provides an additional dimension to understanding and using the data.
  • Geospatial Data. S&ME can utilize data collected using total station, GPS, LIDAR or other surveying tools in our GIS and CAD processes to prepare accurate and quality planning and design products.
  • Document Management Systems for Geospatial Data. S&ME can create a customized system to digitize, organize and archive documents that may be accessed through the internet, a specific intranet or personal computer. The system uses Google Maps© to spatially organize data and provides an interface to navigate the information.
  • Mobile Devices – Instant data transfer from field to office.

S&ME’s staff uses mobile technology to record vital CQA testing and observation data. In the field, our engineering technicians enter the project data using mobile devices to access a custom web application. The information is immediately stored in a database on centralized web servers, making the data available to both field staff and personnel back in the office. Our approach eliminates the conventional, time-consuming need for hand-written field forms that require data entry when technicians return to the office.