Characterization and treatment of organic matter, UV quenching substances, and organic nitrogen in landfill leachates
Driskill, Natalie Marie
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Landfill leachates are often treated on-site before disposal to municipal wastewater treatment plants, although variations in leachate composition and organic loading continue to have negative impacts on downstream treatment processes. Leachate samples were collected from four landfills both before and after on-site treatment to evaluate the extent of biological treatment. The samples vary in age, location, and on-site treatment processes. Size fractionation utilizing microfiltration (MF) and ultrafiltration (UF) was conducted in conjunction with TOC, nitrogen species, and UV254 absorbance analysis to determine the characteristics of organic constituents present in landfill leachate. The size fraction less than 1thousand Daltons (1 kDa) was responsible for a predominant portion of the organic fraction of the landfill leachates studied. Humic substances are refractory components present in landfill leachates that are resistant to biological treatment and responsible for a portion of the UV quenching ability of leachates. Humic substances were also fractionated to humic acid (HA), fulvic acid (FA), and hydrophilic (Hpi) components before being subjected to size fractionation to determine UV254 absorbance and organic fractions. Particle size and hydrophobic-hydrophilic fractionation were conducted in series to evaluate the potential for membrane treatment after biological treatment as a cost effective alternative to reverse osmosis processes currently used to decrease the organic fractions present in landfill leachate. The organic nitrogen fraction was predominately in the hydrophilic fraction smaller than 1 kDa.
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