While landfills are one of the most popular and cost-effective methods of waste disposal, they also, unfortunately, result in a buildup of leachate which needs to be treated and/or tankered off-site. With Government guidelines and rules around the management and treatment of leachate becoming stricter, there is increased pressure on landfill owners to continuously optimise sites and make them more environmentally friendly. This in turn has also come with an increased financial burden due to the rising energy costs over the past year, and as leachate treatment is usually done off-site, there are additional transportation costs to consider alongside the filtration process itself.
Since January 2021, LAT Water has worked with Broadpath Landfill to help the site optimise its energy efficiency, provide more effective leachate treatment onsite, and reduce operating costs. Within the pilot stages of the project which included a single LAT Unit capable of treating 10m3/day, the unit managed to deliver a 48% reduction in operational costs and a 70% reduction in energy use by utilising waste heat as an energy source and recirculating this through the system. The raw leachate stream had total dissolved solids (TDS) of over 5,500 with high levels of ammonia, Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and Total Organic Carbon (TOC). The system additionally recovered a minimum of 70% water from the stream and reached up to 90% for some samples.
Depending on the complexity of a wastewater or leachate stream, the LAT Unit can recover up to 95% clean water and still provide considerable energy savings (contact us to arrange a sample analysis). Many leachate inflow streams are known to contain combinations of magnesium, iron, zinc, sodium, potassium, mercury, and many others and these can be toxic to wildlife and natural habitats, as well as potentially fatal if released into freshwater streams.
This is why LAT Water is on a mission to revolutionise industrial wastewater treatment by providing cost-effective wastewater and leachate treatment solutions for industries across the globe.
What is leachate and why is it a problem?
Leachate is produced when landfill waste begins to break down and liquify, and often contains suspended solids, metals, and other harmful waste which can be extremely toxic to wildlife. Landfills tend to contain difficult-to-break-down waste which cannot be recycled, and can therefore be more harmful than organic waste which can be processed much faster using anaerobic digestion. Some items can remain in a landfill for many decades and even centuries (e.g. aluminium cans that have not been recycled, non-recyclable plastics, rubber sole boots, etc.) and this can mean leachate can become saturated with high levels of toxins.
What creates leachate and what does it contain?
Alongside the decomposition process creating some of the water in leachate, rainwater can also filter through the waste and increase the water levels to create a larger and heavier wastewater stream. With Met Office statistics showing increases in rainfall and flooding year-on-year, higher levels of leachate are likely to be present at each landfill location, making efficient leachate treatment even more urgent.
What are the different types of leachate?
Leachate is usually categorised into three different types: young, intermediate, and old. These types take into consideration the physical age of the leachate as well as its composition. Young leachate tends to be less than 5 years old and contains more organic matter and has high COD and BOD values; intermediate leachate tends to be up to 10 years old; and old leachate is over 10 years old with an alkaline pH and high levels of ammonia nitrogen.
Is leachate a good fertiliser?
Although leachate can have high levels of nitrogen, it contains too many metals and other toxins which makes it unsuitable for use as fertiliser without further processing. Digestate, however, which is produced as a byproduct of anaerobic digestion, is a very popular fertiliser.
Contact The LAT Water Team
Find out more about our leachate treatment and wastewater management solutions by contacting our team on +44 (0)1635 635900 or emailing email@example.com. You can also download our corporate brochure for more details.