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Engineering of waste containment facilities such as solid and hazardous waste landfills and mine waste
repositories usually requires the construction of a barrier (liner, cover). The liners are usually needed to
minimise the downward flux of contaminants, while the covers generally limit the accessibility of fluid (e.g.
rain water) to the waste. The barrier will drastically reduce the potential impact of the waste disposal on the
environment (e.g. groundwater, surface water, and ecosystem). In this paper, the results of research on
potential use of polymer modified paste fill (PMP) as barrier material for waste containment facilities are
presented and discussed. The saturated hydraulic conductivity of PMP mixes with different SAP (super
absorbent polymer) contents were investigated at various compaction degrees. Furthermore, the relative
cost and the resistance of the PMP materials to environmental stresses (freeze-thaw and wet-drying cycles)
were evaluated. Valuable and encouraging results were obtained. The results have shown that possibilities
of using PMP as barrier materials appeared very promising owing their good hydraulic performance,
relative good resistance to environmental stresses and the reduced cost from the low admixture amount
necessary to further improve this performance. The cost of a conventional barrier material made using
bentonite (12%) and sand is higher than any of the studied amounts of SAP required to be mixed in the paste
fill to achieve the recommended low conductivity. The benefit realised could be estimated to 98, 96 and 90%
when using PMP material containing 0.10, 0.20 and 0.5% of SAP polymer.
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