Models of Landfill Leaching: Organic Strength

by William A. Straub, Project Engr.; Wright-Pierce Engrs., 25 Vaughan Mall, Portsmouth, N.H.,
Daniel R. Lynch, (M.ASCE), Asst. Prof.; Thayer School of Engrg., Dartmouth Coll., Hanover, N.H. 03755,

Serial Information: Journal of the Environmental Engineering Division, 1982, Vol. 108, Issue 2, Pg. 251-268

Document Type: Journal Paper


Mathematical models are applied to the dissolution, transport, and decay of organic materials in unsaturated sanitary landfills. The models are based on cascaded reactor concepts and on unsaturated moisture and contaminant transport in porous media. The roles of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria are simulated using conventional kinetic formulations. Computer simulations are obtained for landfill experiments reported by others, and good agreement with observed behavior is demonstrated. The results indicate that aerobic activity is negligible over the leaching life of a landfill, and that anerobic activity is significantly inhibited from that observed in coventional municipal wastewater treatment. Further, the processes of dilution of landfill moisture by infiltration of rainwater, and convection of materials from the landfill via leaching, are significant and in some cases the predominant influences on overall organic behavior. The retention of cells within the landfill system during leachate recycling can be a significant contributor to accelerated rates of biostabilization. The landfill models are useful in the analysis of empirical data and in the identification of important leaching processes.

Subject Headings: Landfills | Leaching | Materials processing | Mathematical models | Organic matter | Moisture | Municipal wastewater | Material properties

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