Water Balance Covers for Waste Containment: Principles and Practice by William Albright, Craig Benson, and Joseph Waugh landed on my desk this week. And a great book it is.
The authors have been practicing, researching, and writing about the topic for decades. Their many papers are scattered. Now it is all in one place in this book–a must read for anyone involved with the design or construction of covers. They focus, as has their work, on covers for landfills. Yet most of what they write about is equally applicable to covers for mine waste facilities, including tailings facilities, waste rock dumps, and heap leach pads.
Whether you are new to the topic or well-versed therein, this is a book worth getting and reading: to learn, relearn, or refresh on the topic.
They start with the basics: types of cover, regulatory issues, and the philosophy of design. Next to the basic concepts of saturated and unsaturated soils and seepage through such soils. A long chapter on plant ecology follows. I skipped that. Hence to a chapter of the design of monolithic and capillary barrier covers and cover water balance modeling. Finally a recap of the field studies they have undertaken over the years—the studies that have so significantly advanced our understanding of monocovers and made it possible for us to use them in confidence.
I would have liked to read more on the computer codes used to model such covers, or to read more on the different approaches that some Canadian expert espouse. But that is a mere quibble. For in summary, this is a book for my shelves, your shelves, and for all of us to read and reread as we deal with covering wastes.