Technical review of methods to enhance biological degradation in sanitary landfills
Warith, M.A.; Sharma, R.
Water Quality Research Journal of Canada 33(3): 417-437
Biological processes are known to reduce the organic fraction of municipal solid waste, but current landfilling practices have not been altered to reflect this knowledge. The advantages of enhancing degradation of solid waste are as follows: reduced period of leachate treatment, increased methane production, expedited landfill site reclamation through stabilized waste mining, and accelerated subsidence permitting recovery of valuable landfill air space. The techniques that can be used to enhance biological degradation include leachate recirculation, addition of nutrients, shredding, sludge addition, lift design, temperature and moisture content management. Manipulation of these variables promotes a more conducive environment for microbial activity. Research on landfill management strategies through laboratory and full-scale studies has shown the validity of applying the enhancement techniques with regards to reducing leachate strength and increasing methane production. These practices focus on the use of landfills as bioreactors, which enables long-term flexibility and assures compliance with future regulations and discharge standards.