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Aerobic Treatment of Landfill Leachate Using a Submerged Membrane Bioreactor - Prospects for On-site Use

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Submerged membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology for aerobic treatment of landfill leachate was studied in laboratory scale to evaluate its potential for on-site use. The performance evaluation of the system was based on the reduction of organic carbon, nitrogen, overall toxicity, and heavy metals to levels suitable for discharge into municipal wastewater. A laboratory scale, 7.5 L working volume was constructed and operated under continuous feeding with real leachate delivered monthly from a municipal landfill and stored at 4°C prior to use. During the laboratory test, three combinations of solid retention time (SRT)-hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 60d-3.5d, 60d-2d and 30d-1d, were examined to evaluate reactor performance under varying loading and biomass conditions. Steady-state was assumed at each operating condition when total and volatile suspended solids in the bioreactor stabilized. COD removal ranged from 51 to 78%, depending on the influent leachate source and loading conditions. The MBR showed excellent BOD5 removal of 97% and higher, even at HRT as low as 1d, as expected, complete suspended solids retention was observed. Also complete nitrification of the incoming ammonia was observed despite highly variable loading. Significant removal of iron, lead, manganese, cadmium and aluminum from the incoming leachate was observed. The main effect of changes in SRT-HRT was on the reactor biomass population and rate of leachate consumption. No significant changes in the removal efficiency of metals, ammonia, COD and BOD5 were observed at different SRT-HRT. Toxicity removal decreased with increasing HRT. 100% of the toxicity was removed from the leachate at the HRT of 3.5d, while 75% was removed when the HRT was reduced to 2d. The produced effluent met current water quality guidelines for discharge into natural streams in Manitoba.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2005

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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