Survey Benchmark Regs May Change for Landfills

New regulations concerning surveying benchmarks for landfills in Virginia is under consideration by the Department of Environmental Quality. With the widespread and accepted use of GPS there have been changes in the usage of benchmarks and it may be necessary to update regulations in order to be consistent with current practice.

Currently Virginia Solid Waste Management Regulations (VSWMR 9VAC20-81) require that landfills establish and maintain two survey benchmarks on a landfill site. Under these regulations the term “benchmark” is defined as “a permanent monument constructed of concrete and set in the ground surface below the frost line with identifying information clearly affixed to it.”

Landfillsurveying2It is appropriate for landfill sites to be required to establish permanent control given the number of elements that must be surveyed and compared to approved permit documents and other surveys. However, the requirement for permanent monuments as opposed to permanent elevation references exceeds the standard of care as currently practiced by the surveying industry. These factors may be considered further in reference to the operating status of the landfill.

At this time DEQ is simply gathering information and no schedule or deadline has been established for changes or updates.   Draper Aden Associates will keep you informed of the progress of this study.

For more information on this subject please contact Pieter Conradie ( at 804.264.2228 or Cheryl Stockton ( at 434.295.0700.