For landfill closures and containment projects, direct and indirect costs should be considered when preparing an HDPE liner cost estimate. Costs include the purchase price and the cost of transporting, installing, and maintaining the liner. Liner monitoring and maintenance is one aspect that is often overlooked but is essential when calculating the liner’s total cost throughout the project’s expected lifetime.
In this blog, we will examine the direct and indirect costs that should be planned for landfill closure and containment projects. We will also discuss the factors that can impact the cost of the liner and how manufacturers can drive down some of those costs.
HDPE liner cost estimates: Estimating direct costs
For purposes of this article, we will bundle the purchase, transportation, and installation of HDPE liner as direct costs. There are several factors that can affect these costs. The first factor is distance. Due to the large-scale nature of most landfill closure and containment projects, the amount of material required can be costly to transport. One of the easiest ways to manage the cost of transportation is to reduce the distance between the supplier and the project site. Some manufacturers like AGRU America have factories strategically positioned across the United States for easier access.
The second factor is project site conditions. Hard-to-reach construction sites can also expect an increase to the cost of transportation. Site-specific conditions like a high total surface area can increase the cost of installation. However, the liner’s properties like weight, flexibility, and durability beneficially affect transportation and installation costs. HDPE liner is far cheaper to install thanks to its light weight and high flexibility, which make it easier to manipulate. These properties drastically reduce the number of hours it takes to unload the material and rollout the liner across the installation site.
Beyond direct costs, most materials also have associated indirect costs such as quality control, inspections, and repairs.
HDPE liner cost estimates: Estimating indirect costs
Landfill closures typically implement construction quality control to ensure that the liner was successfully installed with intimate contact between the liner and the underlying layer. These costs are sometimes overlooked, but are typical indirect costs associated with the use of HDPE liners. Other indirect costs are regular inspections and maintenance.
The need for maintenance and repairs can increase dramatically depending on site conditions. Temperature, for instance, has been shown as one of the most significant factors impacting HDPE liner service life. Even if the ambient temperature is relatively mild, heat can be generated from internal reactions as metals such as aluminum come into contact with leachate. For these reasons, it is essential to install a proper drainage system to control the buildup of leachate. Regular inspections to ensure the landfill temperature has not breached the 60°C–80°C range can help increase the service life of the liner and reduce indirect costs.
While the cost of regular inspections and maintenance of a landfill closure can be costly, manufacturers have developed products to support leak detection and temperature monitoring to streamline inspections and reduce costs.
- 1. J. Jafari, T. D Stark, R. K. Rowe, “Service Life of HDPE Geomembranes Subjected to Elevated Temperatures.” Journal of Hazardous, Toxic, and Radioactive Waste. 18(1):16–26. (2014). DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)HZ.2153-5515.0000188.