Shear strength of municipal solid waste for stability analyses

Stark T. D. , Huvaj-Sarihan N., Li G.

ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY, vol.57, pp.1911-1923, 2009 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 57
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00254-008-1480-0
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1911-1923
  • Keywords: Municipal solid waste, Shear strength, Slope stability, Landfill


This paper investigates the shear strength of municipal solid waste (MSW) using the back analysis of failed waste slopes as well as field and laboratory test results. Shear strength of MSW is a function of many factors such as waste type, composition, compaction, daily cover, moisture conditions, age, decomposition, overburden pressure, etc. These factors together with non-standardized sampling methods, insufficient sample size to be representative of in situ conditions, and limited shear displacement or axial strain imposed during the laboratory shear testing have created considerable scatter in reported results. Based on the data presented herein, large shear displacements are required to mobilize the peak shear strength of MSW which can lead to displacement incompatibility between MSW and the underlying material(s) such as geosynthetic interfaces and foundation soils. The data presented herein are used to develop displacement compatible shear strength parameters for MSW. Recommendations are presented for modeling the displacement and stress dependent strength envelope in stability analyses.