Nitrification of Landfill Leachate by Biofilm Columns
Clabaugh, Matthew McConnell
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Landfill leachate characteristics vary depending on the operation type of the landfill and the age of the landfill. At landfills operated as bioreactors, where leachate recirculation is practiced, leachate ammonia nitrogen concentrations may accumulate to extremely higher levels than during single pass leaching, thereby requiring treatment before final discharge to a receiving system (Onay, 1998). Usually several physical/chemical wastewater treatment technologies are used to treat the leachate. In most cases the COD and BOD are treated, and then nitrification is performed in a separate sophisticated ex situ system. The additional costs of these systems can be very high. The use of a readily available media for in situ nitrification should be considered a prime objective to avoid extra costs. The possibility of removing ammonia nitrogen from bioreactor landfill leachate using trickling filter biofilm technology was studied in four laboratory scale reactors filled with four different types of packing media. The different packing media were examined to see which media is the most efficient at supporting ammonia removal biofilms. The highest efficiency was achieved by a packing media consisting of pine wood chips. The effects of varied concentration loading, varied hydraulic loading, and nitrification inhibitors were studied. Varied ammonia concentration did not have a huge impact on the ammonia removal rates (77-87%) in the reactor with pine wood media. The ammonia removal rates showed a strong dependence on hydraulic loading rate with the lowest loading rate producing the highest removal rates. Landfill leachate from the Middle Peninsula Landfill in Glens, Virginia was determined not to contain nitrifying inhibitors. Using a wood media filter chip and a low hydraulic loading rate was determined to be the best method to remove ammonia nitrogen from landfill bioreator leachate.
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