Forensic Analysis of Landfills Using EM Methods

Publication Abstract:

Electromagnetic terrain conductivity mapping is an effective method for delineating a landfill’s footprint. The degradation of putrescible material increases the conductivity of the integrated water by the generation of soluble ions. Burn pits contain limited to no concentrations of putrescible material; instead, burn pits contain elevated concentrations of refractory waste and metal.

The quadrature phase of the emitted electromagnetic frequency excites ions in landfill leachate. Eddy currents from the excited ions generate an electrical response that is converted, linearly, to apparent terrain conductivity. The in-phase portion of the electromagnetic frequency is very sensitive to ferrous metal. Thus, the footprint of burn pits can be readily distinguished from landfills with placed waste through electromagnetic terrain conductivity mapping methods.

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Forensic Analysis of Landfills Final