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April 2011
The Characteristics and Impacts of Landfill Leachate

"An important publication for landfill designers"

By: Steve

The Characteristics and impacts of landfill leachateDisposing of solid waste to sanitary landfills is without doubt the lowest cost method of managing waste. However, though landfills pose a very real pollution threat to both ground and surface water resources.

However, top quality design and specification of landfill liners when combined with the very best in sanitary landfill management practices will reduce the impact of water contamination by landfills.

Unfortuantely, as this book shows though unless landfill sites are lined and capped, their impact on the groundwater is substantial.

Chemical analysis of groundwater beneath and near two landfills from New Zealand and Lesotho (in Southern Africa) has been characterized in this publication to show that typically there are higher concentrations of chemicals such as Chlorides, TDS and COD than average, below and in the downstream groundwater plume in the vicinity of even the best operated landfills, that are not lined to a high quality specification.

The water was also found to contain higher amounts of heavy metals. How does this cause problems?

The authors explain how high concentrations of chemical constituents, such as those found in leachate contaminated water are liable to cause health complications in humans if consumed. Examples are given.

The authors conclude that in order to minimize possible hazards due to landfill leachate, all future landfills do need to be lined at the base and sides and show how this can be achieved by a combination of clay, geosynthetic clay and high-density polyethylene liners.

This publication would not be applicable to stuents and professionals within nations, such as throughout Europe, and nations that have already followed EU practices in landfill engineering, where sites have been required by environmental regulations, for many years already to be lined.

However, for those in nations where landfills remain and are planned that are unlined, the authors' explanations of the polluting effects which occur when landfill sites are not lined and capped are explained, and this will be useful reference material in such cases.

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You might also be interested to read: "Constructed Wetlands for the Treatment of Landfill Leachate"


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