Koutsou O., Mandylas C., Fountoulakis M.S. & Stasinakis A.S. (2023) Leachate management in medium- and small-sized sanitary landfills: a Greek case study. Environmental Science and Pollution Research
The sustainable management of landfill leachates remains a matter of important concern in many countries. We used as case study a medium-sized Greek landfill, and we initially investigated the performance of the existing secondary leachate treatment system. The activated sludge process removed chemical oxygen demand (COD), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), NH4-N, and PO4-P by 55%, 84%, 94%, and 14%, respectively, but the effluents did not meet the legislation requirements for discharge or reuse. Afterwards, different management options of these effluents (co-treatment with sewage in the centralized treatment plant, onsite tertiary treatment with reverse osmosis, granular activated carbon (GAC), ozonation, photo-Fenton, or constructed wetlands) were evaluated regarding their operational costs and environmental footprint. The use of constructed wetlands presented the lower operational cost, energy requirements, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, not exceeding 21.5 kg CO2eq/day. On the other hand, the power consumption and the GHG emissions of the other on-site technologies ranged from 0.37 kWh/m3 and 5.56 kg CO2eq/day (use of GAC) to 39.19 kWh/m3 and 588.6 kg CO2eq/day (use of ozonation), respectively. The co-treatment of the leachates with municipal wastewater required 0.6 kWh/m3 and emitted 30.18 kg CO2eq/day. For achieving zero-discharge of the treated leachates, a system consisting of constructed wetlands and evaporation ponds in series was designed.