Leachate can be treated by recycling, onsite treatment, or discharge to a municipal wastewater treatment plant. Recycling leachate involves reapplying collected leachate at or near the top of the landfill surface, thus providing additional contact between leachate and landfill microbes. Recycling can reduce BOD and COD and increase pH— with subsequent reduction in heavy metals concentrations. Furthermore, leachate recycling evens the flow of leachate that is removed from the landfill and can enhance the stabilization of the landfill (O'Leary and Walsh, 1991c). Onsite treatment can involve physical, chemical, or biological treatment processes. However, leachate from recently deposited waste is a high-strength wastewater. Furthermore, leachate characteristics change dramatically
over the course of the landfill's life. Consequently, treatment processes should be carefully designed and constructed. The most common option is to use a nearby municipal wastewater treatment plant. Leachate is usually transported to the facility by tanker truck, but a pipeline is economic in some cases. Using a municipal wastewater treatment plant to treat a high-strength wastewater may involve extra charges or pretreatment requirements.
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