This study evaluated the efficiency of a shallow (0.5 m deep) waste stabilization pond series to remove high concentrations of ammonia from sanitary landfill leachate. The pond system was located at EXTRABES, Campina Grande, Paraiba, Northeast Brazil. The pond series was fed with sanitary landfill leachate transported by road tanker to the experimental site from the sanitary landfill of the City of Joao Pessoa, Paraiba. The ammoniacal-N surface loading on the first pond of the series was equivalent to 364 kg ha−1 d−1 and the COD surface loading equivalent to 3,690 kg ha−1 d−1. The maximum mean ammonia removal efficiency was 99.5% achieved by the third pond in the series which had an effluent concentration of 5.3 mg L−1 ammoniacal-N for an accumulative HRT of 39.5 days. The removal process was mainly attributed to ammonia volatilization (stripping) from the pond surfaces as a result of high surface pH values and water temperatures of 22–26°C. Shallow pond systems would appear to be a promising technology for stripping ammonia from landfill leachate under tropical conditions.
Keywords: ammonia removal, sanitary landfill leachate, volatilization, waste stabilization ponds