Optimization and Retrofit of a Leachate Treatment System
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Geosyntec was retained by a confidential client to optimize the operation of a closed municipal landfill leachate treatment system. The composition of the leachate is very complex and the leachate treatment plant did not consistently meet the local Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) limits in the Sewage and Waste Control Ordinance for FOG (Fats, Oils & Grease), iron, and mercury.

Geosyntec's Scope of Services

Geosyntec determined the relative contribution of each distinct leachate extraction well to levels of metals, FOG, BOD5, TSS and lower explosive limit (LEL) constituents. In addition, Geosyntec implemented a sampling protocol to determine the 24-hour leachate flow and concentration variability at the inlet of the leachate treatment system in order to ascertain the need for flow and concentration (BOD5, TSS, FOG and heavy metals) equalization. Geosyntec designed and implemented a leachate characterization study that resulted in the successful segregation of the leachate in two components: leachate that required treatment for the removal of heavy metals and FOG and leachate that could be discharged in the sewer system without treatment. Geosyntec conducted treatability studies to optimize the treatment of heavy metals and FOG using, lime, sodium hydroxide, bentonite, organoclay, saponifiers, polymers, and walnut shell filtration.

Notable Accomplishments

  • Effectively negotiated for a multi-year integrated compliance program with various stakeholders, including the POTW, state and local authorities.
  • Effectively negotiated the renewal of the landfill's Discharge Authorization in accordance with the requirements of the POTW Sewage and Waste Control Ordinance.
  • Conducted treatability testing to optimize the removal of iron, mercury and FOG.
  • Implemented a split discharge of leachate based on BOD5, TSS , FOG and heavy metals results.
  • Designed and oversaw implementation of a hydraulic capacity test for increased treatment volume.
  • Assisted with sewer and discharge permit negotiations with the MWRDGC and the Illinois EPA.
  • Successfully negotiated higher discharge limits for mercury.
  • Evaluated the variability of local limits for FOG in the United States.
  • Geosyntec successfully obtained a variance for FOG limits, including polar and no-polar FOG.

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Project Summary

  • Location: Hillside, Illinois
  • Client: Confidential
  • Project Practice Areas: Contaminated Sites, Water and Wastewater, Waste Management
  • Type of Facility: Solid waste landfill
  • Services Provided: Landfill leachate sampling, Metals treatability study, FOG treatability study, FOG regulatory evaluation, Biodegradation treatability study, Hydraulic capacity testing, Regulatory negotiation
  • Type of Work: Wastewater compliance
  • Governing Regulation: State and local regulations