Journal of Environmental Protection, 2011, 2, 1-10
doi:10.4236/jep.2011.21001 Published Online March 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JEP
Selection of Landfill Sites for Solid Waste
Treatment in Damaturu Town-Using GIS
Ayo Babalola, Ibrahim Busu
Department of Remote Sensing Faculty of Geo-information Science and Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor state, Malaysia.
Received September 29th, 2010; revised November 10th, 2010; accepted December 24th, 2010.
Landfill has been recognized as the cheapest form for the final disp osal of municipal solid waste and as such ha s been
the most used method in the world. However, siting landfill is an extremely complex task mainly due to the fact that the
identification an d selection process involves many factors and strict regulations. For prop er identification and selection
of appropriate sites for landfills careful and systematic procedures need to be adopted and followed. Wrong siting of
landfill many result in environmental degradation and often time public opposition. In this study, attempts have been
made to determine sites that are appropriate for landfill siting in Damaturu town Nigeria, by combining geographic
information system (GIS) and a multi-criteria decision ma king method (MCDM) known as the analytic network process
(ANP) for the determination of the relative importance weights of factors (criteria). The land suitability output is pre-
sented from less suitable to the most suitable areas. The final map produced show areas that are suitable for landfill
siting. Based on the analysis fourteen sites were identified to fulfill the required criteria, however, only seven met the
land availability criteria of twenty hectares and above. The results showed the efficacy of GIS and multi-criteria deci-
sion making method in decision making.
Keywords: Muni ci pal S oli d Wast e Ma nagement, Damaturu, Nigeria, Geographic Information System (GIS), Landfill
Siting, Ikonos
1. Introduction
The growth in municipal solid waste generation the
world over as a consequence of urbanization, industriali-
zation, and population growth, together with improved
living standards has been widely reported [1]. Municipal
solid waste has also been recognized as one of the major
problems confronting governments and city planners the
world over [2]. It is estimated that the United kingdom
produces 35 million tones of municipal solid waste an-
nually [3], and in the United states of America, more
than 140 million tones of municipal waste is generated
annually, while Japan and Germany generates 50.2 mil-
lion and 43.5 million tones of municipal wastes in 1993
respectively [4]. India, one of the most populous coun-
tries in the world generates between 500-700 gm per
head per day [1]. In Africa, the situation appears to be the
same as other parts of the world. Nigeria with a popula-
tion growth rate of about 2.8% per annum and an urban
growth rate of about 5.5% per annum [5] generate about
20 kg of Solid waste per capita every year [6]. Thus, a
proper waste management practices is very much in need
to handle the situation in Nigeria .In the developed coun-
tries, the issue of solid waste is properly handled through
the effective management process of waste reduction,
reuse recycle and proper disposal. In the developing
countries, municipal solid waste management system is
either not efficient or still at the rudimentary stage and as
such solid waste generated has become a threat to the
environment. The growth in population, urbanization,
industrialization, and waste generation in the developing
countries calls for proper solid waste management as it
has become a necess ity for environmenta l conservation [1 ]
and Sustainability. For a sustainable solid waste man-
agement system policies and techniques such as waste
recycling, reuse, waste reduction, thermal treatment,
landfilling etc, must be in place. The landfill method has
been widely recognized as the most used of all the waste
management techniques. This paper presents a study that
Selection of Landfill Sites for Solid Waste Treatment in Damaturu Town-Using GIS Techniques
utilizes a geographic information system and multi-cri-
teria decision method techniques for the selection of
landfill sites in Damaturu town.
2. Materials and Methodology
Damaturu the study area is located in the north eastern
part of Nigeria and lies between longitudes 11˚42' and
11˚57' and between latitudes 11˚54' and 12˚01' and area
coverage of about 48.10 sq km (Figure 1) The Tempera-
ture of Damaturu ranges between 30˚C and 42˚C, and the
rainfall ranges betw een 400 mm and 800 mm and annual
mean of 750 mm. Aside from the northeast trade wind
that is associated with dry season, there is the southwest
maritime air masses that is associated with the wet sea-
The population of the town has been estimated to be
about 255,895 [7]. Most recently the increase in popula-
tion as well as the economic growth in the study area has
transformed and urbanized the area and led to the change
in landuse and a substantial increase in municipal solid
waste generated .
Solid waste management system in the town is not ef-
fective as wastes are seen dumped on all manner of
places including roads, near sensitive areas, and on pri-
vate properties. It is therefore of importance that solid
waste collected are properly disposed at designated sites
in the city in order to avoid environmental degr adation.
In locating proper sites (Landfills), consideration is
giving to environmental factors mainly to avoid envi-
ronmental risk. Again landfill site should be located far
from residential areas and settlement. The site should be
away from areas that are susceptible to flooding, as this
could result in washout of dispo sal waste into groundw a-
ter or stream and would pose risk to human health, the
local aquifer [8] and the environment. Other factors re-
lating to land use, roads, slope, wind direction etc are
considered in locating a risk free and environmentally
friendly waste disposal site. These spatial information
and other related factors have been used in identifying
Figure 1. Map of Nigeria showing Damaturu the study area.
and selecting landfill site in Damaturu town of Nigeria.
Recent improvement in computer processing and the
introduction of Geographic information system (GIS) as
a tool for siting of waste disposal site (landfill) has fur-
ther exposed the importance and the complexities in-
volved in landfill sitin g process.
Recent research work on the application of GIS for the
siting of waste disposal sites include [9,11,12] and [13].
Landfill siting basically considers multiple data and from
different sources as may be observed in the next segment
of data collection and processing.
2.1. Data Collection
Subsets of IKONOS satellite imageries covering the
study area on Scale 1:3000 as we ll as 1:2000 top ographic
maps were used to extract the fo llowing information lay-
ers of the town: the Land use which comprise of residen-
tial areas, settlement, roads, water bodies, groundwater,
commercial areas, sensitive areas, recreation, education al
institution, agricultural, etc. Others are slope from the
contour intervals as extracted from the topographic maps,
rainfall data, wind direction and speed, and soil. The
geographic data and features required for the preliminary
stage of the screening of the sites are extracted using
ArcGIS processing software, the primary processing
steps are describe below.
The following procedures were used to ascertain
needed digital thematic maps:
Scanning of the primary maps available
Georeferencing the scanned maps based on the
ground coordinates collected through ground truth.
On screen digitizing of the primary maps, were
done in order to generate the digital thematic maps,
each representing the influencing factor for landfill
site selection.
Locating the global positioning system (GPS) co-
ordinates and entering in the database as latitude
and longitude.
Conversion of the coordinates into point data and
the addition of the attribute data into the desired
2.1.1. Sitin g C ri teri a
Selection of site is a very important process f or a success-
ful operation of a waste disposal using landfill method.
Landfill involves an extensive evaluation process in order
to identify the optimal available disposal location. This
location must satisfy basic government regulations, and
also take into cognizance how to minimize important
factors like health, economic, environmental and social
cost [13]. In fact, different researchers have used varying
criteria for site selection purposes due mainly to the fact
that different criteria applies to different region and all
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JEP
Selection of Landfill Sites for Solid Waste Treatment in Damaturu Town-Using GIS Techniques3
facilities [14,15].
Evaluation criteria such as water permeability, depth
of the undergro und water table, and distance from rivers,
distance from residential areas, and distance from roads,
slope, and wind orientation were considered in [11]. In
another study, the land slope, soil characteristics, depth
to groundwater, surface water, environmentally rare or
endangered species breeding areas, distance to residential,
religious and archaeological sites, land use, major infra-
structure systems (e.g. electric transmission lines, water
or sewer pipelines), seismic activity, land cost, distance
from high way, distance from waste generation source,
site capacity, distance from air port run way [9] were
used. However, addition factors to the aforementioned
may be considered based on the local conditions and cir-
cumstances [9] or may be modified based on the geo-
graphic and demographic constraints of the research area
In this study, criteria considered were based on estab-
lished guidelines, and that of Yobe state environmental
protection agency (YOSEPA), and modified according to
available datasets for landfill siting. The selection of
waste disposal site was carried out through some screen-
ing process. A GIS-based constraint mapping was em-
ployed to eliminate the environmentally unsuitable site
and to narrow down the number of sites for further con-
siderations. However most of the data and spatial infor-
mation are in the analogue or hardcopy format, thus re-
quiring scanning and digitizing in order to convert them
into GIS format. In order to determine landfill suitability
analysis data layers were converted from one form to the
other, e.g. vector to raster. Reclassification of layer’s
value were done into the 1’s and 0’s scoring system,
where 0 represented unsuitable and 1 signified suitable.
Buffering was done on various layers to determine values
to assign suitable or unsuitable, for instance, pond was
buffered by 100m and areas within the buffer were as-
signed a value of 0, while areas outside were assigned the
value of 1. Overlay of generated buffer maps were done
in order to identify sites where the constraints parameter
will be employed (sites not permissible for landfill).
Analyses through overlaying of various thematic lay-
ers which form the set of identified criteria were then
performed. Followed by, the evaluation of the composite
suitability index scores in the base map. GIS-based con-
straint mapping approach was done to eliminate areas
that are not suitable. Finally, identification of optimized
site for landfill using the model was performed.
The major data used are satellite data, topographic
maps, rainfall, and soil depth, geo-spatial data (latitude
and longitude), wind speed and direction. The acquired
data are entered into the GIS and then processed which
then paved way for the actual processing segment. The
data were processed using the Arc GIS software.The ini-
tial part bears vector maps, which form the layers of land
use, rainfall, soil, slope, aspect, etc. All these layers were
then entered into the model builder and thereafter con-
verted to raster (grid) format from where buffering of all
the constraint mapping were carried out. After this, clas-
sification was done and union of all the buffered layers.
The model builder utilizes the weighted overlay proce-
dure. In this process output map is produced from the
combination of values arising from multiple input layers.
The layers bear cells and these cells are weighted, all th e
layers are then overlaid to produce the overall output
map. In this study the relative importance weight for
each factor was obtained from the use of pair-wise com-
parison matrix method from a decision making process
called the Analytical Network Process (ANP) [17-19]
and carried out using the Super decisions software. The
ANP has been found to be able to deal with interdepen-
dency among different layers of criteria that results in
composite weights that are used to create a ‘super matrix’
The Analytic Network Process (ANP) was used for the
determination of the weight of factors which were; landuse
(0.168772), groundwater (0.167428), rainfall (0.162763),
aspect (0.069989), slope (0.100784), roads (0.060059),
soil (0.169422) and waterbody (0.100784), after a ssi gni ng
weights and rating score based on the significance of the
criteria and the range of magnitude of the parameter
value respectively. The pairwise comparisons used in this
work appear to be reasonable as generated from the use
of the ANP.
To derive the elevation and the slope maps, point data
of longitude, latitude and their elevations were processed
in GIS environment to produce the contour maps using
the surface analysis module of the Arc GIS software.
From the contour maps the digital elevation model (DEM)
was created from which the slope layers were derived.
The land use was obtained through interpretation of Iko-
nos satellite image from 2005 together with a develop-
ment plan of the study area. Twelve different land use
types (Figure 2) were identified and categorized using
visual interpretation and then digitized to create land use
layers. These were sensitive areas, water body, settlement,
recreation, public amenity, commercial areas, agriculture,
administrative areas, low dense areas, educational areas,
high dense areas and medium dense areas.
The road layer was also digitized from the satellite
image and categorized into major, minor and other roads.
Soil layers were derived from soil map and thereafter
overlaid to produce the desired composite map. The
rainfall layer and the groundwater layer were prepared.
The groundwater layer was prepared from the well depth
data collected from the ministry of water resources of the
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JEP
Selection of Landfill Sites for Solid Waste Treatment in Damaturu Town-Using GIS Techniques
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JEP
Figure 2. Land use classification.
state. The processed layers were either in raster or vector
format was combined in the decision support system.
The land use pattern of the study area comprise of high
dense area with 1978.83 hectares representing 41.14%,
agricultural land occupying 1289.455 hectares represent-
ing 26.8%, while the medium dense area, low dense area,
administrative area, educational institution, commercial
area, settlement, public amenity, sensitive area, water body,
and recreation, occupies 4.59, 2.9, 2.53, 2.37, 1.02, 0.66,
0.55, 0.37, 0.27 and 0.15 km2 respectively or 9.53%,
6.04%, 5.27%, 4.92%, 2.13%, 1.38%, 1.14%, 0.77%,
0.56% and 0.32% respectively are the other land use
categories and the respective area coverage.
2.1.2. Road N e tw ork Map
The road network map delineating the national highways
and other major roads criss-crossing the town of Dama-
turu was prepared. There are four national roads high-
ways passing through the town. The Damaturu-Maiduguri
road moving along the eastern part of the town, the
Selection of Landfill Sites for Solid Waste Treatment in Damaturu Town-Using GIS Techniques5
Damaturu-Jos along the western part of the town, the
Damaturu-Gashua road along the northern part and the
Damaturu-Biu road along the southern part of the town.
Others are minor roads within the town
2.1.3. Infiltration Map
An infiltration map was produced taking into co gnizance
the various soil types existing in the town. The infiltra-
tion rate is an important determinant in assessing the po-
tential risk of contamination of groundwater and thus is a
major criterion for the development of landfill in the
study area. Damaturu town fall within the Chad basin
aquifers which remain exposed to continuous loss of rain,
high evapotranspiration and less infiltration rate [20].
2.1.4. Elevation Map
The elevation of the study area generally ranges between
0 and 30 meters. Elevation is an important parameter in
the identification of landfill site. In the method used here,
the land morphology was evaluated using the grading of
the slope and specified in degrees format. The sites iden-
tified to be steep are not considered as they are not suit-
able for landfill siting. The grading was based on the
assumption that flat areas are better and more suitable for
landfill siting than areas that are on a steep.
2.1.5. Groundwater Table Map
The groundwater table is said to be the distance between
the ground surface and the water table. The depth of
groundwater table is a significant parameter in determin-
ing the contamination risk of groundwater in order to
limit potential contamination. Research has shown that
precipitation, site topography and soil type affects the
rate of infiltration into the water table [21]. From avail-
able data, it shows that the groundwater table is shallow
as the depth ranges between 1.7 m and 6.5 m, with the
exception of few areas where the water table is between
33 m and 125 m. Areas within 5 m distance from water
table are considered to be unsuitable for siting landfills.
Based on the analysis, suitability is fo und in areas greater
than 5 m, that is, 5-15 m and 15-20 m as less and more
suitable respectively.
2.1.6. Wind Or ie nta tion and Pattern
The wind orientation and pattern is not known to be sub-
ject to any legal restrictions but based on the premise that
landfill site should not be in the direction of the wind
[22]. It is also an established fact that the direction and
velocity of winds vary with altitude, slope, aspect, and
terrain roughness [23]. The site morphology, wind orien-
tation frequency and pattern of the study area were taking
into consideration when developing the site selection
criteria. The morphological aspect was determined in
degrees, and the wind frequency is in meters/seconds.
The southeast and west records the least frequent winds
in Damaturu town with about 3.81 and 4.06 m/s respec-
tively and were therefore, assigned the highest values of
suitability. But from the records the northeast winds
(5.63 m/s) is the most frequent in the study area, and as a
result sites that are within such orientation are g iving low
values or grades. In view of this fact, areas that are on
flat terrain are given the least grades, because these areas
are susceptible to wind from all directio ns.
2.1.7. Distance from Residential Are as
Research has shown that as the distance from residential
areas increases, the issues of public opposition to siting
of waste disposal facility diminishes [11,24]. It is as a
result of this fact that the suitability of site increases as
public opposition diminishes. The waste disposal sites
should not be sited or located in populated urban or rural
areas. It is for this reason that the residential areas were
categorized into high dense, medium dense and low
dense areas and digitized accordingly based on the de-
velopment plan available of the study area. The extent of
the residential areas were derived from reclassification,
and distance of 500 m and above are considered as suit-
able while 200 m and b elow were considered unsu itable.
Hence the land suitability for landfill increases with the
increase in distance from the residential areas.
2.1.8. Distance from Road Netw o r k
This criterion is concerned with the distance from the
road network. The road network in the city consists of
major roads, minor roads and others. The waste disposal
sites should not be too close to the road networks [10,
25]. In deriving the ro ads layers, on-screen dig itizing was
performed in order to generate the vector layers and
buffer of 600 m, 450 m, and 300 m is applied to the dif-
ferent road networks, and thereafter converted into raster
format. After which roads within 450 m were considered
unsuitable for the siting of landfills. In this situation the
suitability decreases as the distance from road network
increases. Areas located further than 2000 m from the
roads were considered to be unsuitable (Figure 3).
2.1.9. Surface Wa terbody
Generally, waste disposal areas must not be sited near riv-
ers, lakes, ponds or swamps. Under the Nigerian legisla-
tion it is clearly stated that dumping of solid waste on any
water surface be it river, or lake is prohibited. However, a
lake do not exist in the stud y area, hence th is criterion was
extended to take into cognizance other type of surface wa-
ter like pond. H ence water body layer beari ng t he avail able
pond is digitized and converted into raster format where
distance of within 100 m from the pond was considered
unsuitable, and further away as suitable .
2.1.10. Sensitive Areas
The sensitive sites layer was produced from on-screen
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JEP
Selection of Landfill Sites for Solid Waste Treatment in Damaturu Town-Using GIS Techniques
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JEP
Figure 3. Accessibility (Road) classification.
digitization of areas of cultural and historical importance,
these sites are exempted from landfill siting. This re-
search considered as sensitive areas; churches, the Yobe
islamic centre and graveyards and are therefore, re-
stricted from siting landfill. These areas were digitized
on a separate layer and distances within 100 m from these
sites were considered unsuitable and distance further is
considered suitable.
2.1.11. Precipitation (Rainfall)
The annual average rainfall data of the study area was
collected and used in this study. This data was conver ted
into Dbase format and then imported into ArcGIS as
point data. In the ArcGIS environment, the data was in-
terpolated using a widely used technique called the In-
verse Distance weighted (IDW) [26]. This technique in-
volves the interpolation of ground based point data. The
process was carried out in the ArcGIS software, after
which a Triangulation Irregular network (TIN) was pro-
duced from it which depicted the precipitation pattern of
the study area which ranges between 600 mm and 800
mm. Areas within 650 mm were adjudged to be suitable
while areas above are not suitab le for landfill siting.
2.1.12. Slope
Slope refers to the measures of the rate of change of ele-
vation at a surface location [27] and normally expressed
in percent or degree slope. The slope map was generated
from the triangulated irregular network (TIN) that was
obtained from the elevation surface values through in-
terpolation using the topographic maps on a scale of
1:2000. The areas with high slopes are not ideal for waste
disposal, and flat areas are not ideal either. The preferred
areas for waste disposal are those with medium slope of
not more than 20˚. Slope attribute of the area has been
divided into three categories. The first category of 0-10˚
represents suitable areas. Second category of 10-20˚
represents areas that is less suitable. While the last cate-
Selection of Landfill Sites for Solid Waste Treatment in Damaturu Town-Using GIS Techniques7
gory r epre sents a reas th at ar e above 20˚ and are therefore
high and unsuitable for landfill.
2.1.13. Aspec t
Aspect is simply the measure of the direction of slope. It
begins with 0˚ at the north, and then in a clockwise direc-
tion ends at 360˚ again at the north. Aspect is often clas-
sified into four major directions namely; north, east,
south, and west or into eight major directions; north,
northeast, east, southeast, south, southwest, west, and
northwest. The directional values are: Southeast (112-
157.5)˚, West (247.5-292.5)˚, Southwest (202.5-247.5)˚,
North (0-22.5 and 337.5-360)˚, South (157.5-202.5)˚,
Northwest (292.5-337.5)˚, East (67.5-112.5)˚ Northeast
The evaluation criteria discussed earlier were all con-
sidered in the raster format and were combined in a grid
that bears all the grade values obtained from individual
grids. Figures 4 and 5 show the suitability index and
suitability classification map respectively.
3. Results and Discussion
The study considered the use of decision rules for the
location of suitable sites for solid waste disposal, and this
has been with reference to research literature, study area
criteria as well as multi-criteria evaluation procedure. To
arrive at the major objective of this study the suitability
of the sites were classified on the basis of criteria and
sub-criteria. A site is considered suitable for the location
Figure 4. Land suitability index.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JEP
Selection of Landfill Sites for Solid Waste Treatment in Damaturu Town-Using GIS Techniques
Figure 5. Land suitability classification.
of solid waste disposal if it fulfill all the requirements or
criteria such as; 450 m from roads, 500 m from residen-
tial, public amenity, agricultural land, administrative of-
fices, and educational institutions. Others are 200 m
away from recreational and commercial area, 500 m from
sensitive sites. The suitability of sites must also satisfy
the soil type land elevation or topograph y, wind direction,
groundwater level, and rainfall criteria. A site is consid-
ered less suitable for solid waste disposal if it fulfill all
the criteria of less suitable such as; as 1500 m from roads,
200 m from residential area, 300 m from commercial,
administrative, educational, and sensitive sites. Other
considerations are the soil type, land elev ation or contour,
topography, wind direction, groundwater level, and rain-
fall. From the GIS and Multi-criteria analysis performed
fourteen sites were identified as those that fulfilled the
required criteria but only seven of these sites met the
land availability criteria of 20 hectares and above as
shown in Figure 6.
4. Conclusions
The methodology employed in this study described the
GIS and Multi-criteria techniques for the selection of
suitable sites for the disposal o f municip al so lid wastes in
Damaturu town. The study shows the ability of GIS as a
veritable tool for decision support. The techniques con-
sidered a number of siting criteria ranging from accessi-
bility, land use, to natural factors which are very impor-
tant in identifying as well as in locating sites wh ich poses
minimum or no risk to the environment. In the initial
analysis which comprise of the use of Analytic Network
Process (ANP) to determine the relative weights of fac-
tors and multiple criteria suitability in raster GIS, four-
teen sites were selected as a result of the query for suit-
ability. Finally, seven sites were selected for the man-
agement of solid waste in the study area. Research has
shown that siting criteria can be modified based on local
constraints, as such this study considered the available
nd important criteria. Most of the data available and a
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JEP
Selection of Landfill Sites for Solid Waste Treatment in Damaturu Town-Using GIS Techniques9
Figure 6. Selected suitable sites (Area > 20 hectares).
collected were in the analogue format hence most of the
information was derived using the GIS techniques. The
study also demonstrated the efficacy of GIS in the site
identification and selection process and can therefore be
applied elsewhere for siting purposes.
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