John F Thompson, principal adviser, geotechnics, Applied Environmental Research Centre. This note was first published in GE’s July 1998 edition.
Quality control of backfills and landfills is becoming increasingly rigorous as more stringent requirements are placed on operators a,to produce a completed landform and meet certain standards of environmental and engineering control. Some organisations that provide independent verification, and who probably feel that they can work to a prescriptive formula for supervision, testing and reporting requirements, often poorly understand these demands. The work is regarded as bread and butter stuff with little technical interest. However, the successful performance of this independent role depends on an understanding of what is to be achieved and its proper purpose.
The major objectives of quality management in this context are to reconcile potential conflicts of interest between site operators, regulatory authorities and end users of the restored land, and to ensure the long term requirements of performance and durability are satisfied.