An Integrated Leachate Treatment System for Removing Contaminants and Recovering Resources

Investigators: Virginia Tech

Start Date:
Apr 2015

Award Amount:
$160,000

Leachate pollution is a major issue with landfill operation. The existing technologies for leachate treatment require intensive consumption of energy and lack sustainability of water reuse. We propose a new approach for leachate treatment with goals of removing contaminants and recovering valuable resources, named as “R2-LeaTS” (Leachate Treatment System). The R2-LeaTS take advantages of both conventional and new technologies to achieve the removal of organics, nitrogen, and heavy metals, and the recovery of nitrogen, bioenergy and water. The system consists of three major processes, anaerobic digestion, microbial electrolysis cells, and forward osmosis. Leachate is treated through synergistic cooperation among the three processes. The research is original and innovative, because of its accomplishment of multiple tasks simultaneously. It fits into the EREF’s mission to generate sustainable, efficient and environmentally responsible technology, and has a strong relevance to research topic “Leachate Treatment” on the EREF Research Agenda. The success of the project will benefit the solid waste management industry with a cutting-edge treatment technology, strengthen collaboration and deliver talented students. The specific objectives that will be addressed in this project include:

  • Investigate nitrogen removal and recovery in the R2-LeaTS;
  • Examine water production in the forward osmosis;
  • Study the fouling of ion exchange membranes and forward osmosis membranes.