Characterization and treatment of municipal landfill leachates

University dissertation from Department of Biotechnology, Lund University

Abstract: Abstract The efficiency of different leachate treatment methods for the removal of refractory organic compounds and ammonium-nitrogen was investigated. The methods evaluated were nitrification, denitrification, adsorption onto activated carbon, precipitation by ferric chloride or aluminum sulphate and oxidation by ozone or Fenton´s reagent. Furthermore, analyses were performed on leachates from municipal landfills of different kinds (a biocell deposit, a conventional mixed landfill containing household and industrial waste, and an ash deposit) in order to study the leachate composition in regard to various hydrophobic organic compounds as a function of the type of waste deposited. The results suggested that, in order to achieve a satisfactory removal of both ammonium-nitrogen and organic substances, the treatment of methanogenic leachates should be performed through a process combining biological and physical or chemical stages. When the biological treatment was not combined with a physical or a chemical process a COD removal of only 20-30% was achieved, wheras the toxicity of the leachate was significantl reduced. In contrast, a combination of nitrification and either adsorption onto activated carbon or oxidation using Fenton´s reagent resulted in a COD removal of about 80%, although certain specific organic compounds, such as phthalates, were unaffected by the treatment. A combination of nitrification, precipitation by ferric chloride and adsorption onto activated carbon removed 96% of the TOC. The analyses of leachates from municipal landfills of different types showed the leachate from the ash deposit to contain more C4-substituted phenols than the other leachates and to likewise contain alkanes,which the others did not.

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