From the selections of landfill of bottom barrier system profile to the impact assessment of contaminants on underlying aquifer

A long lasting research activity has been developed at the Politecnico di Torino since the 90’s in order to set up an advanced and comprehensive design approach for the definition and optimization of the bottom lining system profiles for solid waste landfills, with particular reference to the mineral barriers. Recently, particular attention has been devoted to the characterization of the Geosynthetic Clay Liners (GCLs) in terms of their hydraulic, diffusive and osmotic properties versus the containment and self-healing performances assessed through the coupled flows theory (Mitchell, 1990). In the first part of the presentation a recently proposed theoretical approach (Manassero and Dominijanni, 1993; Dominijanni and Manassero, 2006 and Manassero, 2019), which is able to model the GCL bentonite hydro-chemo-mechanical behaviour versus the intrinsic, state and fabric parameters through the fabric boundary surface (FBS), is illustrated. Thereafter, a critical overview of the laboratory tests and procedures for the assessment of the input parameters of the model is presented. In the second part of the presentation a simple but comprehensive closed form solution analytical model is defined in order to develop a consistent risk analyses and impact assessment of the potentially released pollutants on the groundwater quality in the underlying aquifer. The main advantages of the proposed method are its simplicity and easy use that allow, as a consequence, to exploit the probabilistic methods, such as the Montecarlo one, without excessive computational complexities and time consuming


Mario Manassero obtained his Civil Engineering degree in 1980 at Politecnico di Torino and received his Ph.D. at the same university in 1987. He has been visiting professor at University of Ancona (Italy) from 1988 to 1993, Ghent University (Belgium) in 1996 and at Colorado State University (USA) in 1995. Since 1998, he has been professor of Geotechnical Engineering at Politecnico di Torino.

He has been chairman of Technical Committee (TC) no. 215 “Environmental Geotechnics” of the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) for the period 2001 to 2014 and a member of the expert consulting board of the Italian Ministry of the Environment for the Environmental Impact Assessment of major national projects from 2008 to 2012.

His main research activities are devoted to the characterization of soil deposits by in-situ tests, soil improvement and reinforcement methods, containment systems for landfills and polluted subsoils, vacuum extraction of subsoil pollutants and the mechanical behavior of municipal and industrial solid wastes. He has also addressed more fundamental topics like the chemo-physical interaction between pore fluids and the solid skeleton of active clays, the multiphase coupled flows and the associated subsoil pollutant transport phenomena.

He has been invited lecturer in a number of international conferences and academic celebrations. Among them it is worth to mention the State of the Art Lecture on Environmental Geotechnics, at the Millennium Conference “GEOENG2000” jointly  organized  by ISSMGE, ISRM e IAGEA, Melbourne, Australia (November, 2000).

He has been appointed as the second R. Kerry Rowe Lecturer by ISSMGE TC 215 and the Lecture was delivered at the 19th International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ICSMGE), Seoul (Corea), 2017.

He was involved un many committees for the preparation of guidelines and regulations, at national and international level, concerning civil engineering and environmental aspects and he was member of the Italian Geotechnical Society Committee, AGI-UNI-SC7, for the National Application Norm of the Eurocode n. 7 “Geotechnical Design” (CEN).

As far as his professional activity is concerned Mario Manassero was involved in many landmark engineering projects such as the protection of the Venice lagoon, the reclamation and rehabilitation of the Rome International Airport area, the stability assessment of the red mud tailing basin at Portoscuso (Italy), the pollutant containment diaphragm wall at Cengio (Italy) and the design of the Messina Strait bridge foundations and anchor blocs. He has also been geotechnical consultant of the Victoria State Environmental Protection Agency (Australia), contributing to the environmental planning for landfill locations as well as to the landfill design guidelines.

He has authored, co-authored and/or edited five books and more than 150 technical and scientific papers in journals and conference proceedings.