Photo courtesy of SCS Engineers
Treating and disposing of leachate has been an ongoing challenge for landfill operators across the U.S. In recent years, effective leachate management has taken on greater importance due to more stringent regulations and changing waste composition that impacts leachate quality.
“Leachate management now constitutes about 30 percent of landfill operating costs and comes right off the bottom line. Opportunities to reduce costs are of great interest and importance,” says Kevin Torrens, vice president for Upper Saddle River, N.J.-based engineering firm Brown and Caldwell. Cost savings can often be found with little or minimal capital investment, he says. Also, owners should plan ahead for tightening of regulations that will contribute to cost creep and technology advancement.
But designing the leachate treatment process and ensuring that contaminated liquids do not affect nearby land and water supplies are the biggest challenges facing local operators and municipal officials.