Improved sanitary landfill design using recirculation of anaerobically treated leachates: generation of advanced design criteria
Financial support: FONDECYT project Nº 1020795, Chile.
Keywords: hydrological balance, landfill, leachate recycle, municipal solid waste, stabilization.
In Latin America, the most accepted disposal systems for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) are landfills, which nowadays have low rates of stabilization. The objective of this study was to develop design criteria for sanitary landfills which lead to a reduction in the stabilization times of MSW, based on experiment results obtain from a pre-pilot scale operation of two sanitary landfills (0.5 Ton), one with recirculation of leachates treated in an anaerobic digester and the other with recirculation of untreated leachates. This was complemented by another pilot scale sanitary landfill (1440 Ton) with recirculation of leaches treated in an anaerobic filter, and additionally by a computer simulation of leachate generation through the water balance of a theoretical cell of MSW (850 Ton), in which the initial humidity of the MSW and the type of final cover were evaluated. The results obtained on the pre-pilot scale indicate that recirculation of anaerobically treated leachates, when compared to the recirculation of untreated leachates, increased the rate of MSW stabilization, projecting a stabilization time reduction of 72%. In the pilot sanitary landfill an increase in the settling rate of around 200% was observed when operating with the recirculation of anaerobically treated leachates as opposed to operation without recirculation. The water balance carried out on the theoretical cell of MSW demonstrated the importance to leachate generation of both the initial landfill water saturation and the type of final barrier. From these results it may be stated that it is important for landfill design to maintain waste humidity close to its field capacity along with an adequate leachate application rate.