SAGE Publications Ltd

Emission of volatile organic compounds from solid waste disposal sites

The emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from a solid waste disposal site for municipal solid wastes was quantified. The VOCs contained in the landfill gas taken at the site were benzene, toluene, xylenes, ethyl benzenes, and trimethyl benzenes, while the concentrations of chlorinated compounds were very low. The concentration of benzene in the landfill gas samples ranged from below the detection limit to 20 mg m—3, and the ratio of benzene to toluene ranged from 0.2 to 8. The higher concentrations of VOCs in landfill gas and in leachates were observed with the samples taken at high temperature areas of the target site. Polystyrene plastic waste was identified as one of the sources of VOCs in solid waste disposal sites at a high temperature condition. The appropriate heat management in landfill sites is an important countermeasure to avoid unusually high emission of VOCs because the heat generated by the biodegradation of organic solid wastes may promote the release of VOCs, especially in the case of sites which receive both biodegradable and plastic wastes.

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