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Development of an engineered wetland system for sustainable landfill leachate treatment

Mohammed, Alya 2017. Development of an engineered wetland system for sustainable landfill leachate treatment. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Sustainable and effective treatment of landfill leachate has become one of the most important environmental problems due to the fluctuating composition and quantity, as well as its high concentrations of pollutants. High-tech solutions applied for the leachate treatment are expensive and energy consuming, and in addition they are not suitable at many landfill sites, especially those in rural areas. Hence there is need to develop novel and sustainable low-energy systems for the effective treatment of landfill leachates. Constructed wetlands (CWs) are inexpensive simple to operate and they have the potential to remove not only organic carbon and nitrogen compounds, but heavy metals. This study focussed on the design, development and experimental investigation of a novel CWs for the treatment of landfill leachate. The CWs employed dewatered ferric waterworks sludge (DFWS) as the main substrate. The overall aim of the study was to design and assess the novel configuration of the CWs, whilst also contributing to advancing the understanding of pollutant removal from the landfill leachate in the CWs, through the development of models to explain the internal processes and predict performance. The key design and operational variables investigated were: the primary media used, i.e. the DFWS, and the wetting and drying regimes. The CWs was configured as 4-stages in series which was operated for 220 days. Thereafter, an additional unit was added due to clogging and the CWs was operated for 185 days in this second period. Results and experimental observations indicate that the chemical treatment processes (adsorption and precipitation) contributed to the clogging. The DFWS used served as adsorbent for heavy metals removal in the system. Results of heavy metals, organic matter (COD), ammonia and total nitrogen removal indicate average removals of 99%, 62%, 83% and 81%, respectively in first period; and 100%, 86%, 90% and 82% in second period, with an average heavy metals loading rate 0.76 g m-2 day-1, organic loading rate 1070 g m-2 day-1, ammonia loading rate of 178 g m-2 day-1 and total nitrogen loading rate 192 g m-2 day-1. Results were supported through mathematical analysis using STELLA model for heavy metals transformation in CWs and numerical modelling using HYDRUS CW2D, which enhanced understanding of the internal processes for organic matter and nitrogen 4 removal. The result from STELLA modelling showed that up to 90% of the removal of heavy metals was through adsorption, which is highly significant. While HYDRUS CW2D results showed that the main path of nitrogen removal was through simultaneous nitrification and denitrification. Overall, results have shown that CWs design has great potential for reduction of metals and nutrients in landfill leachate. Results of this study can contribute to future CW research and design for landfill leachate treatment, through the increased understanding of long-term pollutant removal in these systems. In time, this may result in the wider application of CWs for landfill leachate treatment to better protect the environment.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Engineering
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sustainable, Wetland System, Landfill Leachate, Adsorption of Heavy Metals, Numerical Model, Mathematical Model
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 October 2017
Last Modified: 05 May 2021 09:19

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