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The Leachate Expert Website

Landfills Leachate – 3 Things All Landfill Operators Will Wish to Avoid

Landfills leachate monitoringWhy do you suppose that people go online and search for landfills leachate? Our research that many people do.

You can find various explanations why people search for things on the net. Usually there’s something they want, a situation or need to be resolved and satisfied. The majority are motivated by 1 of 2 different goals: Pleasure seeking (trying to find gain, profit, pleasure, enlightenment, etc. or pain avoidance (seeking to avoid loss, illness, pain, liabilities, problems, etc.)

When someone searches on “landfills leachate“, that person may have either positive or negative motivations. In this this instance we are dealing only with the negative or pain avoidance motivation side. We are going to focus on the 3 actions or errors that a person would want most to avoid.

For clarity and general background here, there are a few things you should know. As an example, you should know that a landfills leachate is a high organic strength polluting liquid. It can be highly odorous and even if it is not, it would still be highly toxic to aquatic life, if discharged without adequate dilution into a watercourse (ditch, river, or stream).

“A MSW landfills leachate is stronger than sewage”

It might be useful to know some of the specifics. By way of example, you need to comprehend that a modern landfill’s leachate is many times stronger in its contamination level than foul sewage.

So what exactly do we have to avoid here? And, why avoid that?

Because if you have a landfills leachate which accumulates in any landfill (not in theory including inert waste landfills) but certainly including all municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills, then you need to take great care that the leachate is removed, and disposed of, responsibly and that it does not enter the ground below the landfill, from which it may enter nearby wells, nor run into ditches, streams, rivers or lakes.

So, with that background and analysis, listed here are the 3 points you will want to carefully avoid:

To begin with, watch out for leachate accumulating within any landfill. The primary reasoning for this is to avoid finding that large volumes have collected which may threaten the health of the local water environment, and which may be both costly and very difficult to dispose of.

What amount of landfills leachate build-up avoidance is necessary? Take care to build plenty of points in the landfill at which leachate level can be measured, such as by drilling and maintaining leachate level monitoring wells.

Second, by sure to ensure that each of those monitoring wells/locations is “dipped” with a leachate water level detection device on a regular basis, and the data collected is recorded and verified by a responsible person within the landfill site operating organisation. And just why would that be? By doing that the landfill operator Will avoid leachate levels within the waste which would be invisible to the naked eye, and may in some circumstances not be detected until the leachate becomes so high that it starts to “break-out”, at the rim of the landfill and pollute the environment.

And how to know what is enough? The original landfill designer should be able to advise, or the site owner or operator should seek advice from an experienced landfill design engineer.

Third and then finally, a landfill’s leachate should always be monitored and managed. The explanation for that is that environmental damage to the underlying water (groundwater), and local surface watercourses from a landfills leachate can be serious, and long term. Fish deaths can be caused and groundwater rendered unsuitable for use as drinking water, without expensive extra treatment before it can be used.

O.K. just how could we tell if this is an adequate amount of avoidance? To avoid the build-up of the landfills leachate causing problems, many environmental regulators restrict the maximum depth of leachate permitted to be held within any landfill cell area to no more than 1 metre depth above the lining of the site.

Avoid these three things and you will have largely eliminated the negatives. This can go a long way in helping you solve, remove or steer clear of the issues that caused you to search for information regarding the landfills leachate.

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3 Responses to Landfills Leachate – 3 Things All Landfill Operators Will Wish to Avoid

  1. Simon August 21, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

    We have monitored and drawn-down our leachate levels, but still have persistent leachate breakouts. Any ideas?

    • Steve Last September 24, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

      Simon: This will almost certainly be due to small quantity of leachate perched above a lower permeability horizon. Permeability contrast horizons which trap leachate and cause it to migrate sideways and create breakouts, are present in the waste of all landfills. They may be created by temporary cover not removed before more waste is placed above, and even by areas which have been compacted by vehicle movements.

      If the local environmental regulator will permit you to remove the capping material and create a “soakaway” in permeable stone around the breakout which will allow the breakout leachate to cease putting a pressure below the capping material and drain downward through the waste, that can be an effective solution.

      However, they will not always allow that and at times I have been forced to lay french drains below the cap to lead the leachate from the breakout location to a leachate well or perimeter drain.

      This can end up being quite costly to do. If it will help you I can always discuss this with the regulator [Uk] for you. Just fill in an LTP Plant Quote request and I’ll get back to you.

  2. J Hill May 3, 2018 at 7:28 pm #

    Cool. Useful and to the point.

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