It is a problematic “leachate landfill” is the statement many landfill operators, and local observers are prone to make after a wet season. Around the world many people face the problem of landfill leachates since rainy season. But, if the leachate from the landfill can be stored without it escaping there is usually very little problem, apart from possibly from odor. The landfill operator will always need to ensure that leachate does not escape, or surface water streams and ground water may get contaminated as a result.
Image by Marufish via Flickr
Landfill owners and operators need to fix the problem before the wet season starts by prediction of the worst case leachate production rates from any, so called “leachate landfill” or leachate producing landfill. Once the scale of the problem is known, suitable leachate treatment and storage need to be installed so that when the storms occur, the capability is there to handle the leachate produced.
This is called leachate management and the most effective approach to landfill leachate management comes from a good understanding of the volumes of leachate to extract, the quality of that leachate, and how these may change in the future as a result of waste aging and stabilisation. There are also important links to revenue earning landfill gas generation and extraction.
The Problem of a Leaking Leachate Landfill
Leaking landfills have been the focus of public attention, and in some regions and nations, leaks are too frequent. There are many landfill covers that are badly designed and are almost certain to fail soon after the period of funded after-care ends, and which have leachate pumps and drainage lines which are prone to clogging and need constant maintenance. These are more likely to lead to groundwater polluting and expensive, if not impossible to remedy, site failures before most liners deteriorate.
Although the open dumps of the past have gone from the US the since EPA imposed the first federal landfill rules in 1991, and since then most landfills have been lined, there are still problems. Capping and lining was done in to isolate the buried wastes and prevent pollutants from leaking into the groundwater, contaminating drinking water supplies. Unfortunately, the waste was entombed and in effect is still present ready to cause pollution problems when the capping and lining gradually fails over the years to come.
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Related terms: Landfill Leachate Definition, Landfill Leachate Collection, Landfill Leachate Characteristics, EPA Landfill Facts, Leachate System, Leachate Treatment Methods, Composition of Landfill Leachate, Early Landfills Leachate