Leachate and soil samples were collected near five solid waste dump sites in the Accra metropolitan area of Ghana over a period of six months. The leachate samples were analysed for heavy metals, coliform bacteria and helminth eggs while the soil samples were analysed for only helminth eggs. Heavy metals analysed included Cd, Pb, Zn, Mn, and Cu. It has been observed that the leachates contain high levels of these heavy metals and pathogens. The high heavy metal levels make the solid wastes suitable for composting only after sorting since this would remove materials which serve as sources of these heavy metals. With the high faecal and total coliform levels, choice of composting temperature and period of intensive decomposition and curing, would be key in getting rid of the pathogens.
Keywords: solid waste dump sites, landfills, leachate, heavy metals, coliform bacteria, helminth eggs, compost quality