Multistage treatment system for raw leachate from sanitary landfill combining biological nitrification-denitrification/solar photo-Fenton/biological processes, at a scale close to industrial--biodegradability enhancement and evolution profile of trace pollutants.Water Res. 2013 Oct 15; 47(16):6167-86.WR
A multistage treatment system, at a scale close to the industrial, was designed for the treatment of a mature raw landfill leachate, including: a) an activated sludge biological oxidation (ASBO), under aerobic and anoxic conditions; b) a solar photo-Fenton process, enhancing the bio-treated leachate biodegradability, with and without sludge removal after acidification; and c) a final polishing step, with further ASBO. The raw leachate was characterized by a high concentration of humic substances (HS) (1211 mg CHS/L), representing 39% of the dissolved organic carbon (DOC) content, and a high nitrogen content, mainly in the form of ammonium nitrogen (>3.8 g NH4(+)-N/L). In the first biological oxidation step, a 95% removal of total nitrogen and a 39% mineralization in terms of DOC were achieved, remaining only the recalcitrant fraction, mainly attributed to HS (57% of DOC). Under aerobic conditions, the highest nitrification rate obtained was 8.2 mg NH4(+)-N/h/g of volatile suspended solids (VSS), and under anoxic conditions, the maximum denitrification rate obtained was 5.8 mg (NO2(-)-N + NO3(-)-N)/h/g VSS, with a C/N consumption ratio of 2.4 mg CH3OH/mg (NO2(-)-N + NO3(-)-N). The precipitation of humic acids (37% of HS) after acidification of the bio-treated leachate corresponds to a 96% DOC abatement. The amount of UV energy and H2O2 consumption during the photo-Fenton reaction was 30% higher in the experiment without sludge removal and, consequently, the reaction velocity was 30% lower. The phototreatment process led to the depletion of HS >80%, of low-molecular-weight carboxylate anions >70% and other organic micropollutants, thus resulting in a total biodegradability increase of >70%. The second biological oxidation allowed to obtain a final treated leachate in compliance with legal discharge limits regarding water bodies (with the exception of sulfate ions), considering the experiment without sludge. Finally, the high efficiency of the overall treatment process was further reinforced by the total removal percentages attained for the identified organic trace contaminants (>90%).