Managing Hurricane Debris and Elevated Temperatures

Timothy D. Stark, Jiale Lin, Todd Thalhamer

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The surface temperature of two municipal solid waste (MSW) containment facilities that were experiencing combustion was measured in the early morning with a clear sky. The highest surface temperature measured is 665°C (1,225°F), which confirms that open flame combustion can occur in an MSW landfill (MSWL). Additional field temperatures over 150°C (302°F) along with field carbon monoxide (CO) detection and site observations confirmed the presence of smoldering combustion. Char, scorched earth, and smoking were visible along the landfill surface through cracks and vents, which facilitated air intrusion. Air intrusion was initially facilitated by use of a thin sand cover that is more permeable than a fine-grained soil cover. It is recommended that thicker fine-grained soil cover be applied to MSWLs before installation of the final cover system to reduce combustion potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalGeotechnical Special Publication
Issue numberGSP 328
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes
EventGeo-Extreme 2021: Case Histories and Best Practices - Savannah, Georgia
Duration: Nov 7 2021Nov 10 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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