Passive and Naturalized Landfill Leachate Treatment Systems for Source Water Protection
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Landfill leachate production is an unavoidable by-product of landfilling solid waste. Mitigation of the adverse environmental impacts of landfill leachate is required at all active and closed landfill sites. Since leachate production continues long after the landfill is closed and no longer generating revenue, management strategies including low-cost passive and naturalized landfill leachate treatment systems are ideal. The past practice of dumping solid waste into unused tracts of land has created many brownfield sites with uncontrolled discharges of leachate to the receiving environment. Belle Park in Kingston, Ontario is an example of such a site that has been reclaimed for recreational use. A seep management strategy, which included the installation of leachate extraction wells, has been implemented at the site. Passive treatment systems, a coastal fringe wetland and a phreatophyte plots, were installed to evaluate their effectiveness in conjunction with the leachate seep management. Modelling estimated that originally, the pumping wells decreased leachate discharge by 60%, and with the newer wells in 2007 the discharge was decreased by 75- 85%. In situ pilot-scale evaluations of treatments systems are required to ensure adequate treatment of the leachate. The Merrick Landfill in North Bay, Ontario currently captures leachate produced on site and is assessing the potential of a hybrid-passive landfill leachate treatment system. This design process started with bench-scale design and assessment of active pretreatment options, followed by an evaluation of passive and semi-passive treatment systems at the bench-scale (treating 2-3 L/day) at both room (24oC) and cold (2oC) ambient temperatures. The design process culminated with a pilot-scale assessment of hybrid-passive treatment systems (treating 2000 L/d). Assessment of flow in passive treatment system is usually conducted with tracer evaluations. Vertical-flow passive treatment systems with intermittent dosing of leachate for passive aeration have both saturated and unsaturated flow regions. This research shows that tracer evaluation of these types of system was insufficient to measure the clogging within the pore spaces. Therefore a time-lagged flux method was created, based on the pilot-scale hybrid passive treatment system at the Merrick Landfill. This analytical solution quantified the changes in saturated hydraulic conductivity in the treatment system cells.