Environmental Research and Education Foundation (EREF)

Decomposition in Landfills: Impacts on Gas & Leachate Course

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The major biodegradable components of municipal solid waste include paper, food waste and yard waste. All of these materials contain cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, with cellulose and hemicellulose responsible for most of the methane produced in landfills. When these wastes are buried in landfills, a complex series of chemical and biological reactions is initiated. The end products of anaerobic biological decomposition in landfills are methane and carbon dioxide. This course will describe the microbial decomposition process in a landfill and relate it to gas production and leachate quality. This foundation will then be used to describe the LandGEM model and ways in which it can be adjusted to consider the effects of waste composition and gas collection efficiency.

Upon completion of this course, the attendee will be able to:

  • Define the biological conversion of municipal solid waste (MSW) to methane
  • Discuss the process of Solids Decomposition and Carbon Storage
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of the Stoichiometric Methods for Estimation of Methane Potential
  • Demonstrate options for Landfill Gas Modeling

Course Length

76 minutes

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