Kings Cliffe: Groundwater Risk Assessment

Case Study

We were asked to carry out a groundwater risk assessment for a landfill site in Northamptonshire. We provided site supervision services for the installation of monitoring boreholes, field testing and sample collection. Data analysis and hydrogeological risk assessment services were also provided. our approach to collecting and assessing all the available data aided the formulation of a hydrogeological conceptual model, which helped to define the most effective containment system for the waste whilst ensuring adequate protection of the environment.

Kings CliffeA waste disposal company contracted us to carry out a groundwater risk assessment for one of its co-disposal landfill sites, located in Northamptonshire. The Environment Agency had requested a review and update of the previous groundwater risk assessment due to a change in the waste stream following the introduction of the new landfill regulations in July 2004. The co-disposal landfill was to accept only hazardous wastes after July 2004. The hazardous landfill lay above a major aquifer.

 

The project involved the supervision and logging of boreholes and the installation of groundwater monitoring wells, field testing, sample collection and the collation and analysis of all available data to aid the formulation of a hydrogeological conceptual model. A Probabilistic Risk Assessment (Monte Carlo analysis) was carried out, using in-house stochastic modelling techniques which use the advection-dispersion-retardation-decay transport model. This modelling approach was chosen to provide both a robust and transparent assessment of risk using the source-pathway-receptor methodology. A number of contaminants were modelled to represent the predicted potential risks to the identified receptors associated with the proposed landfill. At the request of the Environment Agency sensitivity analyses were also carried out including the permeability and thickness of the basal engineered barrier, source term decline and the hydraulic parameters of the major aquifer.

 

Regular reporting of the results of the risk assessment kept both the client and Environment Agency in agreement with each stage of the assessment, and ensured that all aspects were followed efficiently and effectively. Following meetings with the Agency and the client a number of engineering failure scenarios were simulated including the failure of the HDPE geomembrane and the failure of the leachate extraction system. The risk assessment modelling of various engineered barriers helped to define the most effective containment system for the waste and to ensure adequate protection of the environment.