Heimovaara, T.J.


Timo Heimovaara is full professor of Geo-Environmental Engineering at the TU Delft. Since 2019 he chairs the department of Geoscience & Engineering within the faculty of Civil Engineering and Geo-sciences.


After more than 10 years of commercial experience he joined the faculty in June 2007. In July 2012 he was appointed full professor.


His main research interests are focused around the question:

How to use natural processes as engineering tools in the subsurface in order to achieve a more sustainable society?


  •     Engineering the eco-system services of the sub-surface in urban society;
  •     Sustainable landfill after-care;
  •     Reactive-transport in porous media;
  •     Contaminated soil management and soil remediation;
  •     Dynamic monitoring in system oriented groundwater management;
  •     Experimental and computational modelling of coupled processes.

Current Projects


introduction Sustainable After-Care for landfills (iDS: introductie Duurzaam Stortbeheer)

This is a project that is carried out by the Dutch Sustainable Landfill Foundation. Pilot projects are carried out at three landfills: Wieringermeer near Medemblik and Braambergen near Almere, both operated by Afvalzorg, and Kragge near Bergen op Zoom operated by Attero. The aim of this project is to demonstrate that wastebodies can actively be stabilized is such a manner that long term emissions with leachate comply with regulatory standards. For this project I have been involved as chair of the technical expert committee, which advises the Sustainable Landfill foundation on scientific issues. More information can be found at https://duurzaamstortbeheer.nl/ and https://duurzaamstorten.nl/.

Within the context of iDS were were able to secure funding from NWO for the CURE project:


CURE: Coupled multi-process research to reduce landfill emissions

Worldwide, landfilling remains an important aspect of solid waste management. Long-term emissions of landfill gas to the atmosphere and dissolved contaminants to groundwater are the result of bio-geochemical reactions acting on the landfilled wastes. In this project, fundamental research will be conducted regarding the relationship between the conversion of waste organic matter and the emissions of pollutants in the context of a full-scale field trial into the sustainable aftercare of three Dutch landfills. The research will lead to methods that enable sustainable management of contaminated sites, thereby minimising emissions of contaminants to the environment and reducing the time over which society has to actively manage the pollution arising from these sites.

Principal investigator: Dr. Julia Gebert   

Co-investigators: Dr. Anne-Catherine Dieudonné (TU Delft), Prof. Dr. Timo Heimovaara (TU Delft), Prof. Dr. Rob Comans (WUR)

PhD researchers: Cristhian Andrade, Nathali Meza Ramos, Liang Wang, Frank van Raffe (WUR) and Nick Quist (WUR).

Post-doc: Susan Buisma-Yi

Article on NWO

AllRisk C4

AllRisk C4: Geophysical measurements of the sub-soil

Assessing dike safety is largely depends on understanding the structure and the heterogeneity of the sub-surface. Geological and soil maps are based on sparse data and therefore a large amount of interpolation. Geotechnical engineering require information about the soil a much smaller scale. Geophysical measurements provide the information at the required scale. This project aims to provide guidance for better mapping the horizontal variability of the subsoil. The goal of this project was to develop statistical methods to incorporate geophysics into the characterization of subsoil heterogeneity. 

Principle investigator: Dominique Ngan-Tillard

Co-investigator: Timo Heimovaara

PhD researcher: Juan Chavez Olalla

Article link


SoSEAL: Soil Sealing by Enhanced Aluminium and dissolved organic matter Leaching

From 2014 to 2019 we carried out the SoSEAL project in the context of the STW Water programme. In this project we developed a method to reduce the permeability of soils using aluminium-dissolved organic matter flocs. This approach is inspired on the processes that occur in podzols. Currently we are working on developing a pilot project where SoSEAL is implemented as counter measure for piping.


Principle Investigator: Timo Heimovaara

Co-Investigator: Boris Jansen (UvA)

PhD students: Jianchao Zhou, Olaf Brock (UvA)

Post-doc: Susanne Laumann

Industry Partners: TAUW, Heijmans, Evides, Gemeente Amsterdam, Hoogheemraadschap Schieland en de Krimpenerwaard, Movares. 

TU Delft article link

Timo Heimovaara

Department Chair / Professor of Geo-environmental engineering

Availability: Monday Tuesday Thursday Friday

Secretary: Marlijn Ammerlaan