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MBBR Process Proves Highly Effective for Treating Variable Strength Landfill Leachate

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Seneca Landfill, in Mars, PA, has recently retrofitted their treatment train to include a series of three moving bed biological reactors (MBBRs), to maximize the onsite treatment of ammonia. The wastewater influent stream is composed of landfill leachate, as well as of condensate from their methane recovery system. The goal of treatment is to obtain effluent ammonia concentrations of less than 4.7 mg/L at as high a flow rate as possible. The influent ammonia concentration averages over 1,000 mg/L, and spikes higher than 3,000 mg/L. Before the upgrade began, the landfill was not able to consistently treat its leachate to below the effluent limit, and so virtually all of the landfill leachate needed to be treated off-site.

Today, the landfill is able to consistently treat 20 gpm (28,000 gpd) of waste at typical ammonia loading rates, and therefore allowed to discharge the waste into the municipal sewer system. There are still occasions when there is too much ammonia coming into the treatment system to be treated, in which case the effluent is redirected back to the equalization tanks for further treatment. The current objective is to continue to optimize the current configuration in order to increase the capacity of the existing system.

Due to the step-by-step nature of this upgrade, in which both the bio-towers and the hydraulics were upgraded over the course of 6 months, it was possible to collect data at a variety of different reactor configurations. Four of these arrangements are examined in this paper, and the percent of influent ammonia treated as well as the pounds of ammonia removed per cubic meter of media are examined for each case. The dates of the study were from September 2011 through June 2012.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-01-01

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