Introduction to Leachate Treatment

Introduction to Leachate Treatment

Amin Mojiri (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China), Siti Fatihah Binti Ramli (Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia) and Wan Izatul Saadiah Binti Wan Kamar (Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9610-5.ch009


Leachate is created while water penetrates through the waste in a landfill, carrying some forms of pollutants. The goal of this chapter is the introduction to leachate treatment. Biological, physical, and chemical treatments of leachate are the most common methods. The biological techniques in leachate treatment are studied. The physical-chemical ways for landfill leachate treatment like chemical precipitation, chemical oxidation, coagulation–flocculation, membrane filtration, ion exchange, adsorption and electrochemical treatment are studied. The landfill leachate properties, technical applicability and constraints, effluent discharge alternatives, cost-effectiveness, regulatory requirements and environmental impact are important factors for selection of the most suitable treatment technique for landfill leachate treatment.
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Biological Treatment

Biological treatments include aerobic treatments, anaerobic treatments, and phytoremedation.

Aerobic Treatment

The word “aerobic” refers to the characteristic of being in the presence of air, which usually implies being in the presence of oxygen. Thus, aerobic treatment methods are performed in the presence of air and utilize microorganisms called “aerobes,” which utilize molecular/free oxygen to assimilate organic impurities; that is, aerobes convert these impurities into carbon dioxide, water, and biomass (Mittal, 2011).

Membrane Bioreactor (MBR)

The MBR technique is the combination of activated sludge sewage treatment and microfiltration (MF) or ultrafiltration (UF) membranes, with pore sizes ranging typically from 10 nm to 0.5 µm. In a conventional activated sludge treatment plant, the membrane filtration process replaces the final clarifier step treatment achieved solely by gravity, whereas the activated sludge bioreactor is kept separated from the UF treatment. In addition, the membrane disinfects by eliminating bacteria and viruses as well as by producing high-quality, suspended solid (SS)-free effluent (Battilani et al., 2010). The benefits of MBR include better control of biological activity, effluent that is free of bacteria and pathogens, smaller plant size, and higher organic loading rates (OLR) (Cicek, 2003; Johir et al., 2011). Advantages and disadvantages of the MBR are presented in Table 1.

Table 1.
Advantages and disadvantages of MBR
Better effluent qualityTypically higher capital
Smaller space requirementsOperating costs
Ease of automationEnergy costs

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