Landfills: Lessening Environmental Impacts

by Stephen R. Harper, Prof. Engr.; Georgia Institute of Tech., Atlanta, GA 30332,
Frederick G. Pohland, Prof. Engr.; George Institute of Tech., Atlanta, GA 30332,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1988, Vol. 58, Issue 11, Pg. 66

Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: Controlled recycling of leachates within landfills accelerates abaeribuc microbial reactions, thus converting refuse organics to methane. The process also enhances the precipitation rates of heavy metals. If proper management techniques are used, leachate recycling also protects groundwater by providing a rapid attenuation of leachate organics and inorganic contaminants. Results from studies over ten years are discussed and offered as proof of the efficacy of method. Those studies include two full-scale applications in Europe. The first U.S. application has just been completed in a landfill in Ohio and results so far are in accordance with projected rates of stabilization. At the same time, the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing regulations that would ban the addition of liquids to landfill sites unless they are securely lined. Since leachate recycling works whether a fill is lined or not, the proposed ban would prevent wide and beneficial use of this method. The economics of the method are also discussed. If a leachate collection system is in place, the only additional cost may be that of pumping. The methane produced can have economic value and the prevention of groundwater contamination is another economic consideration.

Subject Headings: Landfills | Leaching | Microbes | Waste treatment |

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