Sanitary landfill is the controlled disposal of waste on the land, is well suited to the developing countries as a mean of managing the disposal of waste because of the flexibility and relative simplicity of  the technology. Sanitary landfilling controls the exposure of the environment and humans to the detrimental effect of solid waste placed  on the land. Through Sanitary landfilling, disposal is accomplished in away such that contact between waste and the environment is  significantly reduced, and waste are concentrated in a well-defined area. Which result in good control of landfill gas and lechate, and  limited access of vector (rodent, flies etc) to the waste.In order to be designated a Sanitary landfill; a disposal site must meet the following three general but basic condition 1)  Compaction of Wastes 2) daily covering of the waste (with soil or other  material) to remove them from the influence of the outside environment  and 3) Control and prevention of negative impact on the public health  and on the environment.

Basic requirements

  • Full or partial hydrogeological isolation: if a site cannot be located on land which naturally contains leachate security, additional lining materials should be brought to the site to  reduce leakage from the base of the site (leachate) and help reduce contamination of groundwater and surrounding soil. If a liner - soil or synthetic - is provided without a system of leachate collection, all leachate will eventually reach the surrounding environment. Leachate collection and treatment must be stressed as a basic requirement.
  • Formal engineering preparations: designs should be developed from local geological and hydrogeological investigations. A waste disposal plan and a finalrestoration plan should also be developed.
  • Permanent control: trained staff should be based at the landfill to supervise sitepreparation and construction, the depositing of waste and the regular operation and maintenance.
  • Planned waste emplacement and covering: waste should be spread in layers and compacted. A small working area which is covered daily helps make the waste less accessible to pests and vermin.

Products that can not be accepted at the Landfill

Per city ordinance, the city shall not collect for disposal at its sanitary landfill, nor shall it accept for disposal at its sanitary landfill, the following items:

Hazardous waste

Household hazardous waste

Infectious waste which has not been rendered innocuous

Lead-acid batteries

Major appliances

Waste oil from motor vehicles

Basic Design Principles

A basic landfill is a pit with a protected bottom (to prevent contamination of groundwater) where trash is buried in layers, compacted and covered. Ideally, about 0.5 m of soil should cover the deposited refuse at the end of each day to prevent animals from digging up the waste, flies from breeding and to avoid that odour.

The more advanced landfills consist of a liner system at the bottom and the sides; a leachate removal system, which also includes a treatment of the leachate; groundwater monitoring, gas extraction (the gas is flared or used for energy production) and a cap system .The capacity is planned and the site is chosen based on an environmental risk assessment study.

There also types of aerobic or anaerobic bioreactor landfill. Bioreactor technology accelerates the biological decomposition of the organic fraction of the waste (e.g. food, plants, paper, etc.) in a landfill by promoting conditions necessary for the microorganisms that degrade the waste and produce biogas. 

 UNEP (2002


Link for secure landfill



National Solid Waste Association of India (NSWAI) is the only leading professional non-profit organisation in the fields of Solid Waste Management of India.