Requirements for the design of a sanitary landfill in the Netherlands are described in the Dutch “Stortbesluit” and underlying technical directives.
The Dutch requirements for a sanitary landfill are from 1993 and thus well before the EU Directive (1999-31). In the period 1995 till 2001 some additional requirements were added to the “Stortbesluit”.
The following constructions are obligatory (from bottom to top):
-groundwater monitoring system (both horizontal and vertical);
-base liner consisting of both a mineral layer and a synthetic layer (2.0 mm HDPE geomembrane);
-leachate drainage system consisting of a HDPE drainage system in a permeable layer;
-landfill gas extraction system consisting of vertical wells and a horizontal drainage system on top of the waste. Landfill gas is to be flared or utilised;
-top liner consisting of both a mineral layer and a synthetic layer;
-rainwater drainage system consisting of a run-off system and a drainage layer;
-topsoil and vegetation.
In article 13 of the EU-directive the closure and after-care is the responsibility of the operator for at least 30 years. The Netherlands the after-care of a closed landfill is the indefinite responsibility of the provincial government. The operator has to pay a after-care tax to the provincial after-care fund. This fund will finance all necessary after-care measures.
-all constructions are to be designed and constructed on behalf of the owner of the landfill; -contractors, engineers/designers
-all constructions are to be checked and approved by the provincial government;
-aftercare is done by the provincial government.

Resources needed

The operation of a landfill is paid by the waste entering the landfill. This activity is economically viable. Major investments are:
Base liner €0.4 to 0.6 million per ha
Top cover €0.6 to 0.8 million per ha
After-care €0.3 to 0.5 million per ha
Staff at an active landfill is around 5 to 15

Evidence of success

The number of landfills receiving waste decreased significantly after the new legislation was published. Active landfills invested heavily. These investments reduced the environmental impact of the active Dutch landfills significantly.
All provinces have set up a dedicated after-care fund for everlasting financing the after-care of the closed sanitary landfills. The total value of all 12 landfill funds is at the moment more than 400 million euro.

Difficulties encountered

The following challenges were encountered:
• Permitting a sanitary landfill (NIMBY);
• Building and operating a sanitary landfill needs more knowledge;
• Financing all needed technical measures;
• Transferring a closed landfill to a provincial government.

Potential for learning or transfer

This practice describes the Dutch technical requirements for landfill management. It can inspire other regions to implement certain measures on sanitary landfills from site preparation till aftercare for proper management of sanitary landfills
In the EU directive, the aftercare period for the operator continues as long as the landfill poses a hazard with a minimum period of at least 30 years. The Netherlands has chosen for another position than the EU. After closure and capping of the landfill, the operator must transfer all responsibility of the aftercare, including aftercare funds, to the regulatory body (province) for an indefinite period. With this position, problems during the aftercare can be solved since financial support is available.

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Main institution
Zuid-Holland, Netherlands (Nederland)
Start Date
January 1993
End Date


Jan Frank Mars Please login to contact the author.