Water Research, 38(14-15), p. 3297-3303 (2004); doi:10.1016/j.watres.2004.04.032
Leachates produced at the La Zoreda landfill in Asturias, Spain, were recirculated through a simulated landfill pilot plant. Prior to recirculation, three loads of different amounts of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) were added to the plant, forming in this way consecutive layers. When anaerobic digestion was almost completed, the leachates from the landfill were recirculated. After recirculation, a new load of MSW was added and two new recirculations were carried out. The organic load of the three landfill leachates recirculated through the anaerobic pilot plant decreased from initial values of 5108, 3782 and 2560 mg/l to values of between 1500 and 1600 mg/l. Despite achieving reductions in the organic load of the leachate, a residual organic load still remained that was composed of non-biodegradable organic constituents such as humic substances. Similar values of the COD were obtained when the landfill leachate was treated by a pressurised anoxic-aerobic process followed by ultrafiltration. After recirculation through the pilot plant, physico-chemical treatment was carried out to reduce the COD of the leachate. The pH of the leachate was decreased to a value of 1.5 to precipitate the humic fraction, obtaining a reduction in COD of about 13.5%. The supernatant liquid was treated with activated carbon and different resins, XAD-8, XAD-4 and IR-120. Activated carbon presented the highest adsorption capacities, obtaining COD values for the treated leachate in the order of 200 mg/l. Similar results were obtained when treating with activated carbon, the leachate from the biological treatment plant at the La Zoreda landfill; in this case without decreasing the pH.