Investigation into the denitrification of high strength landfill leachate using pine bark and raw and composted commercial garden refuse as a carbon source : column studies.
Browne, A. J.
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Landfill leachate, the liquid discharge from Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) landfills, is the combination of the surface runoff and ground water that percolates through the waste and the liquid contained in the waste itself and is considered to be toxic and presents a potential harm to the environment. Raw leachate contains high concentrations of biodegradable and non-biodegradable carbon as well as high concentrations of ammonia nitrogen. Traditionally, landfill leachate has been treated biologically through aerobic processes which reduce the biological carbon to carbon dioxide and biomass (bacterial growth) and ammonia nitrogen to nitrates. Unfortunately this is not sufficient to protect the environment from harm. It is necessary to further treat the leachate anaerobically to transform the nitrates to elemental nitrogen which is removed from the leachate as nitrogen gas. Biodegradable carbon is often the rate limiting substrate as carbon is consumed during the preceding nitrifying phase. Biodegradable carbon can be supplemented through the addition of methanol, at great expense Leachate from the Mariannhill Landfill site is currently treated aerobically in a sequencing batch reactor where nitrification is achieved. The nitrified leachate is then used as a dust suppressant on the current site. It is anticipated that in 2012 the Land fill site would have reached capacity thereby eliminating the need to irrigate and leaving the site with an excess of nitrified leachate that will present an environmental risk. The denitrifying performance of raw commercial garden refuse, pine bark and composted garden refuse as a growth medium and carbon source was investigated through the establishment of batch and column tests. CGR Raw proved the most successful of the three growth media, achieving full denitrification at a loading rate of 1700 mg NO3-N/kg of substrate/day.