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Modelling leachate quality and quantity in municipal solid waste landfills

2004-04-01
Yildiz, ED
Ünlü, Kahraman
Rowe, RK
The operational phase of landfills may last for 20 years or more. Significant changes in leachate quality and generation rate may occur during this operational period. A mathematical model has been developed to simulate the landfill leachate behaviour and distributions of moisture and leachate constituents through the landfill, taking into consideration the effects of time-dependent landfill development on the hydraulic characteristics of waste and composition of leachate. The model incorporates governing equations that describe processes influencing the leachate production and biochemical processes taking place during the stabilization of wastes, including leachate flow, dissolution, acidogenesis and methanogenesis. To model the hydraulic property changes occurring during the development stage of the landfills, a conceptual modelling approach was proposed. This approach considers the landfill to consist of cells or columns of cells, which are constructed at different times, and considers each cell in the landfill to consist of several layers. Each layer is assumed to be a completely mixed reactor containing uniformly distributed solid waste, moisture, gases and micro-organisms. The use of the proposed conceptual model enables the incorporation of the spatial changes in hydraulic properties of the landfill into the model and also makes it possible to predict the spatial and temporal distributions of moisture and leachate constituents. The model was calibrated and partially verified using leachate data from Keele Valley Landfill in Ontario, Canada and data obtained from the literature. Ranges of values were proposed for model parameters applicable for real landfill conditions.