You are on page 1of 3

SANITARY LANDFILL PLANNING, DESIGN, AND OPERATION

Active bioreactor cell

Landfill gas to
recovery system

257

Leachate
recirculated
to landfill

Working face

Leachate collection
and storage system

Excess
leachate
to treatment
facility

(a)

(b)

FIGURE 3.30 Bioreactor type landfill with leachate recirculation: (a) schematic diagram
and (b) photograph of a highly instrumented anaerobic landfill bioreactor located at Davis,
California. Photo of bioreactor was taken shortly after landfill was completed, before
significant decomposition had occurred. (Source: OLeary, P. R., and G. Tchobanoglous,
Landfilling, in G. Tchobanoglous and F. Kreith (Eds.), Solid Waste Handbook , 2nd ed.,
McGraw-Hill, New York, 2002, Chapter 14.)

Combinations of these methods may be required to achieve permit requirements


and stream discharge standards. In the final analysis, the treatment required will
depend on the composition of the fill material, leachate volume and characteristics, and the water pollution control standards to be met.

258

SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT

TABLE 3.22

Typical Constituents in Landfill Gas


Percent
(dry volume basis)

Component
Methane
Carbon dioxide
Nitrogen
Oxygen
Sulfides, disulfides, mercaptans, etc.
Ammonia
Hydrogen
Carbon monoxide
Trace constituents
Characteristic

Temperature, F
Specific gravity
Moisture content
High heating value, Btu/sft3a

4560
4060
25
0.11.0
01.0
0.11.0
00.2
00.2
0.010.6
Value
100120
1.021.06
Saturated
475550

a
sft3 = standard cubic foot.
Source: G. Tchobanoglous, H. Theisen, and S. Vigil, Integrated Solid Waste Management: Engineering Principles and Management Issues, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1993.

Landfill Gas Generation, Control, and Recovery and Utilization

Gases found in landfills include ammonia (NH3 ), carbon dioxide (CO2 ), carbon
monoxide (CO), hydrogen (H2 ), hydrogen sulfide (H2 S), methane (CH4 ), nitrogen
(N2 ), and oxygen (O2 ). The typical percentage distribution of the gases found in
the landfill is reported in Table 3.22. As shown in Table 3.22, methane and carbon
dioxide are the principal gases produced from the anaerobic decomposition of
the biodegradable organic waste components in MSW. In addition, a number of
trace gases will also be found in landfill gas. The type and concentration of the
trace gases will depend to a large extent on the past history of the landfill. Issues
related to the generation, control of migration, and utilization of landfill gas are
considered in the following discussion.
Generation of the Principal Landfill Gases The generation of principal
landfill gases is thought to occur in five more or less sequential phases, as illustrated in Figure 3.31. Each of these phases is described briefly here. Additional
details may be found in Ref. 15.

Phase I: Initial adjustment. Phase I is the initial adjustment phase, in which


the organic biodegradable components in municipal solid waste begin to
undergo bacterial decomposition soon after they are placed in a landfill. In
phase I, biological decomposition occurs under aerobic conditions because
a certain amount of air is trapped within the landfill.

SANITARY LANDFILL PLANNING, DESIGN, AND OPERATION

259

FIGURE 3.31 Generalized phases in generation of landfill gases (Iinitial adjustment,


IItransition phase; IIIacid phase; IVmethane fermentation; Vmaturation phase)
(Source: G. Tchobanoglous, H. Theisen, and S. Vigil, Integrated Solid Waste Management:
Engineering Principles and Management Issues, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1993.)

Phase II: Transition phase. In phase II, identified as the transition phase,
oxygen is depleted and anaerobic conditions begin to develop.
Phase III: Acid phase. In phase III, the bacterial activity initiated in phase II
is accelerated with the production of significant amounts of organic acids
and lesser amounts of hydrogen gas. The first step in the three-step process involves the enzyme-mediated transformation (hydrolysis) of higher
molecular mass compounds (e.g., lipids, organic polymers, and proteins)
into compounds suitable for use by microorganisms as a source of energy
and cell carbon. The second step in the process (acidogenesis) involves
the bacterial conversion of the compounds resulting from the first step into
lower molecular weight intermediate compounds, as typified by acetic acid
(CH3 COOH) and small concentrations of fulvic and other more complex
organic acids. Carbon dioxide (CO2 ) is the principal gas generated during
phase III.