Statement of Qualifications on Landfills with Geosynthetics

Dr. J.P. Giroud is certainly one of the engineers who had the deepest influence on modern landfill design. Dr. Giroud, considered the “father of geosynthetic liner systems” by Waste Age magazine, has developed many of the methods used for the design of geosynthetic liner systems for landfills such as: method for the determination of the rate of leakage through liners, stability analysis of liner systems on slopes, leachate collection system design, leakage detection system design, design of liner systems over weak foundations, design of geotextile filters, evaluation of exposed geomembrane cover uplift by wind, geomembrane anchorage against wind uplift. He received the International Geosynthetics Society Award for the design method he developed for the evaluation of leakage through liners; this method has now been incorporated in the HELP model for landfill design of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). The design methods developed by Dr. Giroud for liners are used worldwide. They are presented in the more than 120 papers published by J.P. Giroud on liner systems.

Dr. Giroud has originated innovative applications such as: the protection of geomembranes using geotextiles (1971), the double geomembrane liner with granular leakage detection layer (1974), and the double geomembrane liner with geosynthetic leakage detection layer, using a geonet (1980). He played a key role in the development of the use of geonets and geocomposite drainage systems in landfills. Dr. Giroud is also recognized for his pioneering work in construction quality assurance of liner systems.

Dr. Giroud has unique experience in performing forensic analyses and performance evaluation of landfills. He has performed more than 15 such forensic analyses and performance evaluations, and has presented several keynote lectures on the subject.

Dr. Giroud has actively participated in the development of regulations for landfill liners. He was a consultant to the US EPA on the agency’s Liner Leak Detection Rule, Double-Liner Rule, and the related technical background documents. He also was a member of the task force developing the landfill rules for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection; his role in the task force was to develop a rationale for the liner system regulations. Dr. Giroud has also been asked on numerous occasions to develop “equivalency demonstrations” to show that an alternate solution for a liner system is equivalent to the liner system prescribed by regulations. Dr. Giroud has written several papers on liner system comparison and equivalency demonstrations, and he is the lead author of a paper that establishes the methodology for equivalency demonstrations for leachate collection systems.

Dr. Giroud has extensive experience in landfill design and construction. He has designed, or conducted a performance analysis for, more than 100 liner systems. He has participated in the design of several major landfills and low-level radioactive waste disposal facilities (in Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Texas, Canada [Alberta, Ontario, Quebec], France, etc.). He has participated in performance analyses and forensic analyses of 15 landfills (Maine (2), Illinois, California (3), South Carolina, Ohio, New York (4), New Jersey, Portugal, Colombia). He also planned and implemented one of the very few full-scale tests ever performed to evaluate the stability of the cover system of a major landfill (New Milford Landfill, Connecticut, 1987-1988). It was the first test of the use of a textured geomembrane on a slope.

Dr. Giroud has extensive experience in teaching courses on landfill design and liner systems: he has taught more than 50 courses on these subjects for the US EPA, Region 4 of EPA, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Association of State Dam Safety Officials, the Industrial Fabrics Association International, the Swedish Geotechnical Institute, and many other organizations. Also, Dr. Giroud has been the senior technical advisor for the videotape “Geosynthetics in Landfills” co-sponsored by the International Geosynthetics Society and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Dr. Giroud co-chaired and presented the opening lecture at the session on construction quality assurance at the Fourth International Landfill Symposium (Sardinia 1993). Dr. Giroud was a member of the International Advisory Board for the International Landfill Symposium (1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003). Dr. Giroud presented the keynote address on a comparison of filters used in landfills and other applications at the International Conference on Filters, GeoFilters ’96 (Montreal, Canada 1996). In 2002, Dr. Giroud chaired the session on Geomembranes for Landfills at the International Conference on Geosynthetics. Dr. Giroud has presented in 2005-2006 the prestigious Mercer Lecture series sponsored by the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering and the International Geosynthetics Society. The lecture, on “Contribution of geosynthetics to the geotechnical aspects of waste containment”, was officially presented in Japan, in South Africa, and at the opening session of the International Landfill Symposium, in Sardinia in 2005; and was repeated at other locations such as Atlanta (USA), Jakarta (Indonesia), Shanghai (China) and Hong Kong. In 2010, he presented a keynote lecture on landfill design at the closure session of the Peruvian Conference on Geosynthetics.

Design and Innovative Practice on Liner Systems

As a researcher, Dr. Giroud developed many methods of design for the use of geosynthetics.

Design methods related to liner systems developed by Dr. Giroud include:

  • Geotextile filter criteria.
  • Design method and charts for the determination of stresses and strains in geosynthetics caused by a localized subsidence of the supporting ground or waste.
  • Stability and differential movements of earth and concrete covers on geomembrane – geotextile – geonet systems.
  • Design of drainage layers for leachate collection and leakage detection in waste disposal facilities.
  • Evaluation of rate of leakage through liners.

Dr. Giroud is the principal author of three volumes published as special issues of Geosynthetics International: “Design of Geomembrane Applications” (1995, 285 pages), “Control of Liquid Migration Using Geosynthetics Liner Systems” (1997, 251 pages), and “Liquid Collection Systems” (2000, 320 pages). These three volumes can be considered as the state of the art of liner system design. In particular, these three volumes present the detailed methodology for liner system performance evaluation.

As a practicing engineer, Dr. Giroud developed the double liner concept, which he presented in a paper in 1973. He used a double liner in a project constructed in 1974, which has performed well ever since. Applications related to liner systems originated by Dr. Giroud include:

  • First use of a geotextile associated with a geomembrane (1971).
  • First use of a double liner with a geomembrane, the other liner being made of bituminous concrete (1972).
  • First use of a double geomembrane liner (1974).
  • First use of a geonet associated with two geomembranes to form an entirely geosynthetic double liner system (1980).

In addition, Dr. Giroud has been instrumental in the development of the use of geonets and geocomposite drainage systems in landfills in the United States and in the acceptance of this technique by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (1984-1985).

Representative landfill projects include:

  • Design, geomembrane selection and quality assurance of NIES hazardous waste landfill, Wichita, Kansas (1982-83).
  • Design of lining system for a hazardous waste landfill, Liberty County, Texas (1983).
  • Design assistance, quality assurance, and full-scale slope stability of a hazardous waste landfill liner installation in Emelle, Alabama (1984).
  • Assistance for design of a hazardous waste landfill closure including geomembrane, geonet and geotextile, Eastern Missouri (1984).
  • Assistance for design of a hazardous waste landfill closure including passive gas ventilation, Missouri City, Missouri (1984).
  • Review of design of a sanitary landfill, Fort Bend County, Texas (1985).
  • Design assistance and quality assurance for a hazardous waste landfill, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (1985).
  • Review of design of a proposed very large sanitary landfill, Morris County, New Jersey (1985).
  • Review of design of a double lined hazardous waste landfill, Arlington, Oregon (1985).
  • Lining system design for landfill in Broward County, Florida (1985-86).
  • Assistance for design of a hazardous waste landfill, McIntosh, Alabama (1986).
  • Review of the design of a sanitary landfill cover, Toronto, Canada (1986).
  • Review of the design of a triple lining system for a hazardous waste landfill in Wright City, Missouri (1986).
  • Review of the conceptual design of a hazardous waste landfill in Toronto, Canada (1986).
  • Review of the design of a sanitary landfill lining system, Ottawa-Carleton, Canada (1986).
  • Hazardous waste landfill design review and quality assurance plan, in Deer Park, Texas (1986).
  • Conceptual design of lining system for a landfill in St. Lucie County, Florida (1986).
  • Review of the conceptual design of the lining system for a municipal waste landfill in Foster County, Pennsylvania (1987).
  • Review of liner material selection for a municipal waste landfill, Gloucester County, New Jersey (1988).
  • Review of preliminary design of a municipal waste landfill, Cumberland, New Jersey (1988).
  • Review of detailed design for a municipal waste landfill, West Palm Beach, Florida (1988).
  • Conceptual design for the geomembrane liner system of a municipal waste landfill, Monroeville, Pennsylvania (1988).
  • Preliminary design of the geomembrane liner system of a municipal waste landfill resting on existing waste, Long Island, New York (1988).
  • Stability calculations for a geomembrane-lined ashfill, Long Island, New York (1988).
  • Review of conceptual design of hazardous waste disposal landfill, Augusta, Michigan (1988).
  • Evaluation of rate of leachate generation for a municipal landfill, Jacksonville, Florida (1988).
  • Review of conceptual design and expert testimony for a municipal solid waste landfill, Edmonton, Canada (1989).
  • Review of problems caused by vegetation growth to the geomembrane cap of a large municipal waste landfill, Fresh Kills, New York (1989).
  • Design of geomembrane liner system for a large municipal solid waste landfill, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico (1991).
  • Design of a removable geomembrane landfill cap for a landfill with waste mining/recycling, Collier County, Florida (1991).
  • Review of landfill design, Livermore, California (1992).
  • Technical assistance for the design of Lopez Canyon Landfill, California (1993).
  • Prediction of long-term performance of a geomembrane liner for a low-level radioactive waste repository, Martinsville, Illinois (1993).
  • Prediction of long-term performance of geomembrane liner and geosynthetic clay liner for a low level radioactive waste disposal facility, North Carolina (1994).
  • Design assistance to Chem Nuclear Systems, Inc. for the development of “high-integrity vaults” for the storage of low-level radioactive waste (1994-1998).
  • Design assistance for detailed design of a solid waste landfill, Calce, France (1995).
  • Development of design criteria and design methodology, design assistance and design review for low-level radioactive waste disposal landfill, Fernald, Ohio (1996).
  • Filter design assistance for two landfills, USA (1997).
  • Design of 12 m deep excavation into waste to repair liner system in a landfill, Michigan (1997).
  • Member (in charge of design method development) of the design team for the first exposed geomembrane cap for a municipal solid waste landfill, constructed in Sussex County, Delaware (1998).
  • Review of wind uplift calculations for an exposed geomembrane cap at Sabine Parish Landfill, Louisiana (1999).
  • Review of design of use of geosynthetic clay liner encapsulated between two geomembranes for two landfills, Keystone and Commonwealth (2001).
  • Member of the design team of Lachenaie Landfill Northern Extension, Montreal, Canada (2001).
  • Design assistance for Bryn Pica Landfill with bituminous geomembrane, UK (2001).
  • Filter design review, Lewis Road Landfill (2002).
  • Design assistance for the preliminary design of the closure of a solid waste landfill, Guam (2004-2005).
  • Risk assessment evaluation for Nowingi waste repository, Australia (2006).
  • Design assistance for an exposed geomembrane cover with flexible photovoltaic cells, Hickory Landfill, Georgia (2009).
  • Evaluation of the leakage rate for North Milam Landfill, Illinois (2010-2011).
  • International peer reviewer for the vertical expansion of Whytes Gully Landfill, Australia (2011-2013).
  • Detailed review of the design of the Ordot Solid Waste Landfill, Guam (2012-2013).

Performance and Forensic Analyses

Dr. Giroud has extensive experience in performing forensic analyses and providing expert testimony. He has performed approximately fifty forensic analyses and performance evaluations, including a number for geomembrane-lined landfills. His first participation in a court case dates back to 1962. The first failure analysis of a geomembrane lined facility by Dr. Giroud dates back to 1972.

With his in-depth knowledge of geotechnical engineering and geosynthetics, Dr. Giroud is considered one of the foremost international authorities on the performance of geotechnical structures incorporating geosynthetics: keynote lecturer on geosynthetic failures at the conference “Foundation of Success: Lessons Learned from Failures” organized by the Colorado Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) (1992); keynote speaker on “Lessons Learned from Failures Associated with Geosynthetics” at the French Conference on Geosynthetics in Tours (France, 1993); keynote lecturer on “Lessons Learned from Failures Associated with Geosynthetics” at Geosynthetics ’99, the bi-annual conference of the North American Geosynthetics Society, held in Boston, USA, and author of the 66-page paper on the subject in the proceedings of the conference; keynote lecturer on “Lessons Learned from Failures and Successes Associated with Geosynthetics” at “Eurogeo 2”, the Second European Conference on Geosynthetics, held in Bologna, Italy, in 2000, and author of the 42-page paper on the subject in the proceedings of the conference. Also, Dr. Giroud is a frequently invited lecturer on the performance of structures incorporating geosynthetics and lessons learned from failures: “Kersten Lecture”, University of Minnesota/Minnesota Geotechnical Society, 1999; “Jack Hilf Memorial Lecture” The University of Colorado/US Bureau of Reclamation, 1999; and “The Nete Lecture”, Three Gorges Dam, China, 2000. He is co-author of a 215-page report on “Waste Containment Systems: Problems and Lessons Learned” (1999) for the US EPA.

Dr. Giroud has worked in many parts of the world. In particular, he has performed forensic analyses or performance evaluations in various countries, such as Argentina, Jordan, Niger, France, the United States, etc. Furthermore, as President of the International Geosynthetics Society, or on other occasions, Dr. Giroud has chaired, or participated in, numerous international meetings and panels. As a result of this international experience, Dr. Giroud feels comfortable working everywhere in the world, and his authority and arbitration skills are instrumental in difficult situations, in particular when international participants are involved. Also, as a result of the work he has done for regulatory agencies (preparation of background documents to support regulations, report and manual preparation, training courses), Dr. Giroud is highly respected by representatives of governmental agencies, which is helpful in case problems linked to the performance of regulated facilities, such as landfills.

Examples of landfill performance evaluation and forensic analyses include:

  • Review of monitoring data for a hazardous waste landfill, Peoria, Illinois (1989).
  • Analysis of the failure of a liner system in a landfill (sideslope stability, leakage), Fulton County, New York (1989).
  • Analysis of potential leakage out of a geomembrane-lined municipal landfill and potential ground water contamination, Azusa, California (1989).
  • Analysis and remedial measures for liner system instability in a landfill, Babylon, New York (1990).
  • Analysis of a waste slide and liner system failure in a hazardous waste landfill, Kettleman City, California (1990).
  • Investigation of foundation soil, waste slide, and liner system failure in a landfill, Portugal (1995-1996).
  • Expert testimony on the evaluation of the design of a waste disposal landfill, St. Etienne, Canada (1995-1996).
  • Analysis of a very large waste slide in a landfill, Bogotá, Colombia (1997-1998).
  • Performance evaluation of a landfill cap geomembrane liner with substandard seams, Clarkstown, New York (1999).
  • Performance evaluation of a landfill cover system with defective drainage geocomposite, Buckeye, Ohio (2001).
  • Performance evaluation of a geomembrane liner attached to pile foundation through municipal solid waste under a large building and subjected to differential settlement, Lynn, Massachusetts (2006).
  • Evaluation of geomembrane performance and durability prediction under high temperature at WGSL Landfill, Hawai (2008-2009).
  • Technical assistance for geomembrane uplift problem at a contaminated soil capping site, a Superfund site, Vermont (2011).

Expert Testimony

Dr. Giroud has personal experience in providing expert testimony at administrative and judicial hearings. Dr. Giroud has also presented project descriptions and design concepts at public information meetings. These hearings and meetings were related to siting or permitting of hazardous or municipal waste disposal facilities.

Examples include:

  • Presentations at public hearing for a municipal solid waste landfill, Edmonton, Canada (1989).
  • Presentations at several public hearings for the Guaynabo Landfill, Puerto Rico (1991).
  • Presentation at public hearing for a low-level nuclear waste landfill, Martinsville, Illinois (1993).
  • Expert testimony in court and reports, St Etienne Landfill, Quebec (1996).
  • Presentations at public hearings for the Salinas Landfill, Puerto Rico (1997).
  • Depositions, expert testimony and report preparation for a landfill project sited on Karstic terrain in Dade City, Pasco County, Florida (2009-2012).

Experience with US EPA and Regulatory Agencies

Dr. Giroud has worked extensively with the USEnvironmental Agency (US EPA) and other regulatory agencies, as indicated below:

  • Preparation of “Guide Specifications for Geomembrane Installation in Hazardous Waste Disposal Facilities”, as part of a contract between the US EPA and TRW (1983).
  • Preparation of “Assessment of Synthetic Membrane Performance at Waste Disposal Facilities” for the US EPA (1984).
  • Review of the “Permit Writer’s Guidance Manual for Hazardous Waste Land Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities”, as part of a contract between the US EPA and GCA (1984).
  • Participation in meetings with the US EPA for the revision of leachate collection and leakage detection rules to incorporate synthetic drainage layers (1984-1985).
  • Review of “Design, Construction, Inspection, Maintenance and Repair of Leachate Collection and Cap Drainage Systems”, as part of a contract between the US EPA and A.D. Little (1985). Subcontract through Peer Consultants.
  • Review of “Construction Quality Assurance for Hazardous Waste Land Disposal Facilities”, as part of a contract between the US EPA and the Research Triangle Institute (1985).
  • Review of “Avoiding Failure of Leachate Collection and Cap Drainage Systems” for the US EPA (1986).
  • Review of “Background Document: Bottom Liner Performance in Double-Lined Landfills and Surface Impoundments”, EPA/530-SW-87-013, April 1987, 301 p., Subcontract through NUS.
  • Preparation (co-author) of the “Background Document: Proposed Liner and Leak Detection Rule”, EPA/530-SW-87-015, May 1987, 526 p., Subcontract through NUS.
  • Review of “Background Document: Comparative Performance of Single-Liner and Double-Liner Systems”, October 1987, 76 p., Subcontract through NUS.
  • Evaluation of Birchwood demolition debris landfill permit application for Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) (1988).
  • Participation in the Technical Advisory Task Force of the Florida Department of Environmental Regulations for the preparation of new landfill rules (1990-1992).
  • Review of “Leakage Detection, Collection, and Removal System Flow Data from Operating Units — Technical Support for Proposed Liner/Leak Detection System Rule”, for the US EPA (1991).
  • Review of “Action Leakage Rates for Leak Detection Systems, Supplemental Background Document for the Final Double Liners and Leak Detection Systems Rule for Hazardous Waste Landfills, Waste Piles, and Surface Impoundments”, for the US EPA (1992).
  • Participation in “Performance Criteria for Landfill Cover”, for the California Integrated Waste Management Board (1992-1993).
  • Participation in the preparation of the national guidelines on geomembrane construction quality assurance for the French environmental regulatory agency, ADEME (1996).
  • Co-author of a comprehensive survey of problems in landfills, titled “Waste Containment Systems: Problems and Lessons Learned” (1999), for the US EPA.

Also, Dr. Giroud has been a peer reviewer of the work by the GeoSyntec Consultants team that evaluated under contract for the US EPA monitoring data from more than a hundred landfill cells or liquid impoundments.

As a result of all this work J.P. Giroud is in a unique position to deal with regulatory agencies.

Quality Assurance of Liner System Installation

Dr. Giroud became involved in quality assurance of liner system installation as early as 1980. The report “Guide Specifications for Geomembrane Installation in Hazardous Waste Disposal Facilities”, prepared by Giroud and Kastman in 1983 and published as part of a state-of-the-art report for the EPA, laid the foundations for modern geosynthetic quality assurance. Dr. Giroud also prepared a general quality assurance manual for the installation of geosynthetic liner systems for a major US waste management firm (1984-1985). Finally, Dr. Giroud was instrumental in forming, at GeoSyntec Consultants, a Quality Assurance Division which, from 1984 on, has been involved in more than 1000 projects, totaling approximately 100 million square meters (one billion square feet) of geosynthetics. During the first years of operation of this division, Dr. Giroud participated personally in construction quality assurance field work. Typical landfill projects where Dr. Giroud was involved in quality assurance field work include, for example:

  • Hazardous waste landfill, Wichita, Kansas (1983)
  • Hazardous waste landfill, Emelle, Alabama (1984)
  • Hazardous waste landfill, Arlington, Oregon (1985)
  • Hazardous waste landfill, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (1986)
  • Low-level radioactive waste disposal landfill, Fernald, Ohio (1996).

Training Courses and Seminars on Landfills and Liner Systems

Dr. Giroud has taught training courses on landfills and liner systems for the personnel of the EPA and state regulatory agencies. These include:

  • Geomembrane Liners, Properties, Design and Installation in Landfills, presented in all 10 regions of EPA (1983-1984).
  • Permit Writer’s Training Seminar on Synthetic Liners, presented to: EPA Region 4 in Atlanta, EPA Region 10 in Sacramento, EPA Region 3 in Philadelphia, EPA Region 2 in New York, and EPA Region 6 in Dallas (1985); EPA Region 7 in Kansas City, and EPA Region 5 in Chicago (1986).
  • Permit Writer’s Training Seminar on Landfill Covers, presented to: EPA Region 2 in Puerto Rico, EPA Region 10 in Sacramento, and EPA Region 5 in Chicago (1986).
  • Course on liner systems in landfills in all 8 states of EPA Region 4 under contract with EPA Region 4 (1994).
  • Since 1992, Dr. Giroud has taught several landfill courses sponsored by the Florida DEP (in conjunction with the University of Florida).
  • Seminars on landfills for a geosynthetic manufacturer in Walnut Creek (2005), Houston (2006), New Jersey (2006), Columbus (2010), Chicago (2010), Denver (2010), Orlando (2011), Atlanta (2011).

In addition, Dr. Giroud has taught every year for 30 years a short course on liner systems for landfills as part of the Landfill Course of the University of Wisconsin, Madison (from 1986 to 2015).

For more information, see:

Dr. Giroud’s Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) on Liner Systems (which includes a list of more than 120 publications on liner systems by J.P. Giroud)


Dr. J.P. Giroud ECP, PhD

Member of the
US National Academy of Engineering


To contact J.P. Giroud: jpg@jpgiroud.com