An investigation of the dual co-disposal of a phenolic wastewater and activated sewage sludge with refuse and treatment of high-strength leachate obtained from a closed co-disposal landfill.
Co-disposal with refuse in a controlled landfill is the cheapest option for the disposal of hazardous waste and, if carefully controlled, can be an effective treatment option. In this present study a high-strength phenolic wastewater and activated sewage sludge were co-disposed with refuse. The effectiveness of phenol catabolism at two organic loading rates (500mgt1 and 1000mgtl) was assessed in the presence of various co-disposal strategies. Leachate recycle at the lower phenol organic loading rate was found to facilitate the greatest rate of phenol catabolism. Despite the effective removal of phenol, however, leachate recycle promoted the production of high concentrations of ammoniacal-N and hydrogen sulphide. At the higher phenol organic loading rate, recirculation was ineffective in reducing the residual phenol concentration due to inhibition of the phenol-catabolisers. Microcosms operated with single elution and batch co-disposal strategies at both phenol organic loading rates resulted in serious detrimental effects on the refuse fermentation and subsequent leachate quality. A high-strength leachate obtained from a closed co-disposal site was characterised to determine its chemical composition and was assessed for its susceptibility to biological treatment. If carefully controlled, co-disposal sites should produce leachates which differ little in quality to those produced by municipal waste sites. The exceptionally high specific conductivity of the leachate used in this present study was, however, uncharacteristic of a leachate from a municipal waste site. The leachate required dilution to 25 % (v/v) before responding to aerobic biological treatment due to the presence of bactericidal/bacteriostatic components. Anaerobic treatment was ineffective even at a final dilution of 10% (v/v) of the original due to the inhibition of methanogenesis caused indirectly by the high concentration of sulphate in the leachate. Following phosphate addition, aerobic biological treatment effected a significant reduction in the chemical oxygen demand (COD) but did not reduce the ammoniacal-N concentration. Scaling and precipitation occurred following addition of the phosphate, and although these did not affect the biological process they can cause operational problems in full-scale leachate treatment plants. Ion exchange, with soil, and lime treatment, were, therefore, considered for their ability to reduce the inorganic content of the leachate prior to biological treatment. However, these particular pretreatments were unsuitable due to their ineffectiveness to reduce calcium, the main inorganic element involved in scaling, to an acceptable concentration.