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ABSTRACT: This article presents the results of a study to determine the geomechanical characteristics of waste dumped at landfills, using a large compression-shear experimental device. After determining the physical characteristics of the sample and weight per unit volume of the waste in the field, stage 1 of the study involved preconsolidating the waste by compression and stage 2 applying a transverse shear force. It was thus possible to determine compressibility moduli (stage 1) and the strength parameters c and f by assuming a Coulomb behaviour law. The results are compared with the values given in the literature. INTRODUCTION To obtain a good idea of the mechanical behaviour of waste dumped in landfills, it is necessary to test representative samples, which are bulky in comparison with the samples used for soil geomechanics studies. Furthermore, to interpret the results obtained in the field, it is necessary to determine as accurately as possible the type of waste, the degree of compaction, the additional load applied by overlying waste and the cap cover, and all other factors that will affect the behaviour of the stored waste material. This article describes a study carried out at two Class 2 landfills. DESCRIPTION OF EXPERIMENTAL LANDFILLS Site 1 (at Torcy, Saône et Loire, France) has been in operation since 1984. The centre handles about 80000 tonnes of waste a year, consisting almost solely of non-hazardous industrial waste (NHIW). After arriving at the working area, the waste is compacted in fine layers between 0.5 and 1 m thick. A temporary cap cover consisting of clay material is laid over each stage of work. Site 2 (at Montech, Tarn et Garonne, France), has been in operation since 1988. The centre handles about 200 000 tonnes of waste a year, consisting almost solely of domestic waste (DW).