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Leachate generation & Goundwater

• Leaching-process that dissolved material carried
along the water.
• Leachate = Water with various pollutants in it.
• As water percolates through MSW, leachate is
generated – consists of residues of
decomposing organic matter combined with iron,
mercury, lead, zinc & other matel from rusting
cans, discarded batteries & appliances, and
other chemical like paints, pesticides, cleaning
fluids, newspaper inks etc.
Methane Production
• ⅔ of MSW = organic material.
• Buried wastes decompose in anaerobic (no access to
• Major byproduct = biogas (⅔ methane & the rest
hydrogen & CO2) = highly flammable.
• Produce deep in the landfill, biogas seep horizontally
through the soil/rock, enter basements, can cause
explosion if accumulated & ignited.
• In US, ~20 homes 300 meters from landfills had been
destroyed by explosions.
• Methane gas = poisonous to plant roots.
• Without vegetation → erosion, exposed unsightly waste.
• Some cities collect methane gas from old & existing
landfills. The largest gas well in CA generates enough
electricity to power 100,000 homes.
Incomplete Decomposition
• Plastics = polymers of petroleum-based compounds.
• Resist natural decomposition by microbes.
• Biodegradable plastic polymers – from corn starch,
cellulose, lactic acid, soy-bean protein, amides & others.
• Bayer (German)-market 100% biodegradable plastic
(structured as polyester amide polymer) which degrades
completely within 70 days.
• Bio-degradable plastic shopping bags used in Carrefour,
Sunshine Square, Popular Book Shop etc.
• Some paper (newspaper of 30 years old) degrade slowly
due to lack of water.
• More water , more leachate.
• Waste settle as it compact & decompose.
• Building should not put on landfills.
• Landfill have been converted to play-
ground, golf-course.
• Low depressions (sometimes deep holes)
could hold water.
• Continuing monitoring of landfill
Improving Landfill
• New landfill in US is sited on higher ground (well above water table).
Top of hill is bulldozed to supply source of cover earth.
• The floor is first contoured → water will drain into a tile leachate-
collection system.
• The floor then cover with a plastic liner, then ~ 1 meter of
compacted soil, then a layer of porous soil.
• Fill is build up in pyramid shape. Final layer of clay & a layer of
topsoil is used. Seeding of vegetation (grass).
• The clay-topsoil cap & pyramid shape help the landfill to shed water
→ less leachates.
• Entire landfill is surrounded by a series of ground-water monitoring
• Goto: http://www.environment.gov.pk/pub-pdf/sldWstMang.pdf (for
landfill site selection & screening criteria: Table 3)
4 Class of Landfill
Combustion / Therma Waste Treatment
• MSW has high organic waste → burn.
• Advantages of combustion
– Reduce >70% of weight, >90% of volume, greatly extend the life
of landfill.
– Toxic/hazardous substances are concentrated into 2 stream of
ash: (1)Fly Ash captured from the combustion gas contains most
of the toxic substance, (2) Bottom Ash from bottom of boiler can
further process to recover metal & then convert the remainder
into concrete block (by theory!).
– No changes are needed in trash collection or people’s behavior
– Modern combustion facilities design to generate electricity.
Waste to Energy Concept (not applicable in Malaysia due to
high moisture content of MSW).
– Newer equipment comes with scrubber & filters or electrostatic
precipitator to remove acid gases & particle.
Waste-to-Energy Combustion Facility

• Goto :http://www.mns.org.my/article.php?sid=5 (for type

of incinerator/combustion facility Table 2).
Drawbacks of Combustion
• Trash does not burn cleanly. Exhaust stacks emit toxic fumes into
the air (Dioxin gas & furans=carcinogenic).
• Combustion facilities are expensive to build. Siting problem: no one
wants to live near one.
• Combustion ash (loaded with metal/hazardous substance) need
secure landfills to dispose of.
• To justify the cost, combustion facility must have continuing supply
of MSW. Long-term agreement to get MSW can lessen the flexibility
of the MSW management option.
• A number of combustion facility compete with recycling for burnable
materials (newspaper) : major drawback to recycling.
http://www.surforever.com/sam/pressrelease/kgbohol.html &
Costs of MSW Disposal
• Some countries charge residents for MSW
disposal: US$1.50/bag, $1.00/automobile
tire, $30/refrigerator.
• Penang: MSW free disposal; RM50 for
collection of bulk waste.
• Illegal Dumping.