“Leachate generation is a major problem for municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills and causes significant threat to surface water and groundwater. Leachate can be defined as a liquid that passes through a landfill and has extracted dissolved and suspended matter from it. This contaminant results from precipitation entering the landfill from moisture that exists in the waste when it is composed.”[1]

Large amounts of organic and inorganic contaminants contained at municipal landfill sites contribute to it. This represents a severe environmental concern if it cannot be controlled.  It is characterized by high values of COD, pH, ammonia, nitrogen, strong color and bad odor, it may also typically possess high concentrations of metals and other hazardous organic chemicals.  These contaminates along with the composition of the landfill waste, degree of compaction, climate, and moisture content impact the contaminates contained within the leachate. Which may affect the severity of the issue and will likely affect the methods used to treat it. 


“Landfill operators have traditionally dealt with leachate by discharging it to publicly owned treatment works (POTWs). For them it is a simple and inexpensive method of disposal.  But as POTWs face tighter regulations that impose more stringent discharge limits, the landscape is transforming.  Some of these treatment plants have stopped accepting landfill leachate altogether due to river consequences, says Bryan Staley, president and CEO of the Environmental Research and Education Foundation.”[2] h

Legislation altering the disposal of leachate, which previously went to the wastewater treatment plant will now require separate treatment.

[1] Treatment of leachate from municipal solid waste landfill, Safaa M. Raghab Ahmed M.Abd El Meguid Hala A.Hegazi, July 12, 2013

[2] Waste 360, Adam Minter – Stuff: The Hidden Borderland of Waste and Recycling, OCT 09, 2020

For more information on how Wet Tech Environmental can help with these contaminants, contact us today