Enhanced Biodegradation in Landfills
Shearer, Brad David
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The objective of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of leachate recirculation and bioreactor landfills at enhancing biodegradation, and to optimize the operation of a bioreactor. Waste Management has been examining leachate recirculation landfills for several years. Samples of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) from existing leachate recirculation (LR) landfills were collected and analyzed for several physical and biochemical properties. These parameters of interest were moisture content, pH, density, temperature, volatile solids, cellulose/lignin ratios, and biological methane potential (BMP). Leachate recirculation increased the dry density 55% faster and decreased the BMP 125% more rapidly. Moisture content was the biggest factor influencing overall degradation. Therefore, leachate reciculation effectively increases biodegradation of MSW in landfills. Waste Management built a pilot-scale bioreactor in Franklin, WI, which was sampled for one year. It contained a bioreactor side and a control side. The volatile solids, cellulose, and BMP degradation rates for the bioreactor were increased by 56%, 87%, and 271% versus the control, respectively. Moisture content was the biggest factor influencing overall degradation. The column study is designed to optimize three parameters under the control of an operator: moisture content, initial aeration period, and biosolids addition. The optimum moisture content is above 45%, but it is not safe to operate heavy equipment on refuse with greater than 45% moisture. Initial aeration did not speed up the overall degradation, but it did shorten the acidogenic phase. Finally, biosolids did not have a significant effect on degradation rates. The columns maintained an average temperature of 70oF.
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