Co-treatment of landfill leachate in laboratory-scale sequencing batch reactors: analysis of system performance and biomass activity by means of respirometric techniques
Aged or mature leachate, produced by old landfills, can be very refractory; for this reason mature leachate is difficult to treat alone, but it can be co-treated with sewage or domestic wastewater. The aim of the study was to investigate the feasibility of leachate co-treatment with synthetic wastewater, in terms of process performance and biomass activity, by means of respirometric techniques. Two sequencing batch reactors (SBRs), named SBR1 and SBR2, were fed with synthetic wastewater and two different percentages of landfill leachate (respectively 10% and 50% v v−1 in SBR1 and SBR2). The results showed good chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal efficiency for both reactors, with average COD removals equal to 91.64 and 89.04% respectively for SBR1 and SBR2. Furthermore, both SBRs showed good ammonia-nitrogen (AN) removal efficiencies, higher than 60%, thus confirming the feasibility of leachate co-treatment with a readily biodegradable wastewater. Significant respiration rates were obtained for the heterotrophic population (average values of maximum oxygen uptake rate equal to 37.30 and 56.68 mg O2 L−1 h−1 respectively for SBR1 and SBR2), thus suggesting the feasibility of leachate co-treatment with synthetic wastewater.