Leachate Collection System Clogging in Florida: A Reality Check

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Primary Investigator:  Dr.Tarek Abichou
Email:  abichou@eng.fsu.edu
Phone: 850-212-9720 

Graduate Student:  Daria Sakharova
Email:  daria9219@gmail.com
Phone: 412-580-2314

Sponsored by:




     The overall objective of this study is to use a “film growth approach” to simulate clogging in Florida landfills.  The change of hydraulic properties and porosities of leachate drainage materials due to calcium carbonate buildup will be predicted using Florida specific leachate composition data and leachate generation data for typical landfills operated in different micro-climates of the state.  The effects and the extent of the co-disposal of MSW and WTE by-products will also be assessed.  The results of this investigation will be used to examine the adequacy of the current design methodology of leachate collection systems in the state of Florida.  The findings of this study will then be used to estimate the service life of LCSs in different regions of Florida. 



Task 1 – FDEP Database and other Literature (Leachate composition, Leachate generation, Leachate Leak Detection System, etc.) 
The first step of the project will be to team-up with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and conduct an extensive review of the FDEP database to characterize the changes in leachate generation and quality in Florida landfills.  We will also perform a literature and available databases search for leachate characteristics of MSW, WTE by-products, and their mixtures to identify the chemistry and the biology of the liquids before reaching LCS in landfills.

Introductory Power Point

Progress Report
Task 2 – Model calcium carbonate (calcite) growth in LCS
Based on input generated in Task 1, the change in the porosity and hydraulic conductivity of the components of leachate collection system will be predicted.  The results of this task will consist of tabulated clogging predictions for the different leachate strengths associated with Florida landfills (monofills, co-disposal), the type of drainage materials currently being used (sands, gravel, geotextile, geonet,…), and the different leachate generation rates (GPD per acre). 

Progress Report

Task 3
– Analysis of LCS clogging results

As soon as Tasks 1 and 2 are completed, key landfills and key locations, to be used as case studies, will be identified.  The case studies identified in this manner will be carefully evaluated to assess the performance of the leachate collection system for the past few years.  A technical review of the design of the leachate collection system at each chosen landfill site will be performed in Task 3.  Data from these locations will be used to calibrate the clogging model predictions.

Progress Report

Task 4 – Revisiting Florida Regulations concerning design and maintenance of LCS 
Based on Task 1 to Task 3, the predicted change in hydraulic properties, along with the existing leachate collection system layout (design), will be used to re-evaluate the head on liner for all the selected case studies.  The results of this investigation will be used to examine the adequacy of the design methodology of leachate collection systems at those particular locations.  The findings of this study will also be used to estimate the service life of LCSs in different regions of Florida.

Progress Report
The purpose of the LCS is to collect and remove the leachate from the bottom of the landfill and therefore minimize the leachate head which provides the driving force for the leakage of contaminants to the surrounding environment.  Since the contaminating lifespan of a landfill may be decades or even centuries, the performance of the LCS is critical for a well-designed modern landfill and there is a need to be able to predict the service life of a given system.

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