​BSCE Lehigh University, 1985​MSE University of Texas at Austin, 1987​PhD University of Texas at Austin, 1989

"Environmental engineers are the environmental gatekeepers. We manage the interface between the industrial and natural worlds to ensure quality of life for all, today and in the future. "

Craig H. Benson, School of Engineering

My practice in geoenvironmental engineering fits in four broad categories: (i) design and assessment of environmental containment systems for municipal, mining, radioactive, and hazardous wastes, (ii) sustainability assessment of engineering systems, (ii) recycling/upcycling of waste materials, and (iv) reuse of industrial byproducts for sustainable construction. In each of these areas, we emphasize a full range of study from basic theory to practice and address energy and mass transfer issues. Our research includes fundamental laboratory studies, development of computer models, and practical field demonstration of new technologies. In many cases, our research findings are validated at full-scale at operating facilities or in infrastructure in collaboration with industry and/or government agencies.

My expertise falls broadly in the discipline referred to as geoenvironmental engineering. This discipline is at the interface of the built and natural environments, and deals with issues in the subsurface or interactions between conditions at the earth’s surface and the subsurface. In most cases, the important objectives are protecting soil and ground water or designing engineering systems that prevent contamination, reduce emissions, or save energy. Achieving these objectives requires knowledge of the mechanisms controlling energy and mass transfer in the subsurface and development of creative approaches to control the rate at which energy and/or mass is transferred. These principles are applied to containing wastes to prevent groundwater contamination and atmospheric pollution, controlling contaminant migration in the unsaturated zone and ground water, managing the movement of heat and water in near-surface soils, and assessing energy usage and emissions associated with geological engineering structures at the interface of the earth’s surface.



  • National Academy of Engineering
  • Ralph B. Peck Award, American Society of Civil Engineers
  • Croes Medal, American Society of Civil Engineers
  • Alfred P. Noble Prize, American Society of Civil Engineers
  • A. Ivan Johnson Outstanding Achievement Award, ASTM International
  • Award of Merit, ASTM International

Research Interests

  • Landfill Engineering & Solid Waste Management
  • Radioactive & Mixed Waste Disposal & Management
  • Mine Waste & Residuals Disposal & Management
  • Coal Combustion Products Disposal & Management
  • Recycling & Beneficial Use, Life Cycle Analysis, & Sustainability

Selected Publications

  • Antioxidant Depletion and Service Life Prediction for HDPE Geomembranes Exposed to Low-Level Radioactive Waste Leachate ABS Tian, K., Benson, C., Tinjum, J. and Edil, T.
  • Chemical Characteristics of Leachate in Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Facilities, J. Hazardous, Toxic, & Radioactive Waste Mgmt., 21(4), 04017010-16-16 Tian, K., Benson, C., and Tinjum, J.
  • Case History of Environmental Impacts of an Indonesian Coal Supply Chain, J. Cleaner Production, 157, 47-56. ABS Aguirre-Villegas, H. and Benson, C.
  • Characteristics of Gas and Leachate at an Elevated Temperature Landfill, Geotechnical Frontiers 2017, Waste Containment, Barriers, Remediation, and Sustainable Geoengineering ABS Benson, C.
  • Radon Fluxes from an Earthen Barrier Over Uranium Mill Tailings After Two Decades of Service, Proceedings Waste Management ‘17, WM Symposia Inc., Phoenix, AZ, 1-10. ABS Benson, C., Albright, W., Fuhrmann, M., Likos, W., Stefani, N., Tian, K, Waugh, W., and Williams, M.
  • Comparison of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Transport between Composite Liners with HDPE and Ethylene-Vinyl Alcohol (EVOH) Co-Extruded Geomembranes J. Geotech. and Geoenvironmental Eng., 04017010-1-11. ABS Eun, J., Tinjum, J., Benson, C., and Edil, T.
  • Hydraulic Conductivity of Geosynthetic Clay Liners to Low-Level Radioactive Waste Leachate, J. Geotech. and Geoenvironmental Eng., 04016037, 1-12. ABS Tian, K., Benson, C., and Likos, W.
  • NUREG/CR-7028: Engineered Covers for Waste Containment: Changes in Engineering Properties & Implications for Long-Term Performance Assessment ABS Benson, C., Albright, W., Fratta, D., Tinjum, J., Kucukkirca, E., Lee, S., Scalia, J., Schlicht, P., Wang, X.
  • NUREG/CR-7200: Influence of Coupling Erosion and Hydrology on the Long-Term Performance of Engineered Surface Barriers ABS Smith, C. and Benson, C.