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Phytocapping Landfill Technology

Phytocaps are vegetated soil landfill covers that are designed primarily to reduce the drainage of rain water into the waste through water balance mechanisms instead of the resistive mechanism employed by conventional landfill cap technologies. 


Our team are recognised  world leaders in the field of Phytocap design, construction and landfill gas management.

The potential superior capability of a phytocap cover to reduce fugitive release of methane to the atmosphere is an additional characteristic that should be considered to encourage the use of these types of covers in Australia.  Understanding how the phytocap cover stores and releases water (primary function) is essential as it affects the oxidation of methane (secondary function).

The methane oxidation potential of phytocaps has been explored  a methodology developed by Pacific Environment under the Emission Reduction Fund (ERF) so that site owners and project proponents may potentially benefit from the methane abatement generated as a result of installing a phytocap.


Our Services in Phytocapping

We provide a full landfill design and construction service for landfill owners and operators. We design and implement innovative capping designs such as Phytocapping but  include traditional covers where appropriate for landfill final closure. 

Benefits of Phytocapping and why it works

Our team continues to play a major part in the advancement of Phytocap technology in Australia. Here are a few reasons why it is a great landfill solution:


It’s part of the natural process…

Phytocaps have a lightly compacted soil layer that stores moisture during rain events. This means that by natural processes, the sun and plants remove the water from the soil by evapotranspiration and return it to the atmosphere.

Together the soil and plants reduce the percolation of water into the waste. These water balance mechanisms work with nature, rather than against it.


reduced point source emissions of methane

With Phytocapping, the methane that rises gently upwards from the waste is oxidised through the root system. This reduces methane emissions produced from the waste to the atmosphere and with no ‘hotspots’. You won’t need any heavy and expensive machinery to install or maintain the Phytocap though you will need professional assistance for design, construction and plant selection.


You will save significantly on closure costs…

Phytocaps require a one-time implementation above the subsoil. After this, they rely on the natural process of the vegetation above to grow, maintain a water balance and oxidise the methane and odorous landfill gasses. You won’t have to worry about high remediation and closure costs. It will also improve the aesthetic of closed landfills.

Potential to earn carbon credits…

On invitation from Department of Environment (D of E), Pacific Environment has developed a methodology under the carbon farming initiative CFI for estimating and measuring abatement of methane in a Phytocap. Pacific Environment continues to work with D of E on refining the methodology. By implementing Phytocapping on your landfill, you will be able to cut overall costs in construction and maintenance and earn carbon credits for lowering greenhouse gas emissions.


Phytocap performance improves over time…

Phytocaps are incredibly resilient. As a Phytocap matures, its performance in evapotranspiration and oxidising  methane and fugitive gas emissions is enhanced. Biodiversity in the area will also continue to improve over time.

Our Experience

Pacific Environment has many years experience both in the US and Australia in the design and construction of the innovative technology of phytocapping for lansdfills. Our professionals have been closely associated with research in this field  both the US Alternative Cover Assessment Program (ACAP) and the Australian ACAP (A-ACAP).

We have developed the methodology for predicting methane  oxidation rates from the use of phytocaps, our US experts led the research in phytocap development in the US through the US ACAP, and and our Australian professionals provided program management for the A-ACAP 

Previous Jobs

US ACAP and A-ACAP;  the design of the first regulatory approved phytocap in Queensland at Wattle Glen, Ipswich and the design of a phytocap for the East Gippsland Council at Bairnsdale, Victoria.

Pacific Environment Limited was commissioned by the Department of Environment to investigate the potential of an emissions reduction fund methodology for phytocaps. For more information click here.


Connect with our Landfill Consultants today to improve your environmental performance.

small-phone-icon    +61 2 9870 0950

small-email-icon    enquiries@pacific-environment.com