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A Survey of volatile organic compounds at a municipal solid waste cocomposting facility

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A 5-day survey was conducted at a municipal solid waste (MSW) cocomposter facility. The amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the MSW was indirectly estimated by measuring the concentrations of VOCs in gas, liquid, and solid phases and making necessary assumptions because of practical limitations in the direct measurement of VOCs in the MSW. Of the nine target VOCs tested, chloroform, toluene, methylene chloride, ethylbenzene, and trichloroethylene (TCE) were detected in descending order of concentration. Ethylbenzene, toluene, and TCE were detected once in the leachate at 24, 11, and 7 μg/L, respectively. Ethylbenzene and toluene were detected in the rejected and screened compost at 5 to 25 μg/kg on two sampling days. The dominant mechanisms of the VOC removal appeared to be volatilization and biodegradation. The average total input of the nine VOCs was estimated to be 385 g/d or 34 g/wet ton of MSW. The average VOC emission to the atmosphere was approximately 111 g/d.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 1995

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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