Developing Strategies to Recover and Treat Nutrients in the Landfill Leachate

Investigators: University of Utah & University of Central Florida

Start Date:
October 2016

Award Amount:

The desire to recover useful resources, especially nutrients, from waste streams is continuously increasing. Leachate management is challenging and poses a tremendous burden on landfill managers. The practice of discharging concentrated leachate to municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) is not sustainable in terms of increasing the overall nitrogen and carbon loadings on these facilities. The need to treat anaerobic digester reject water is becoming very common in WWTPs. Combining leachate with the anaerobic digester reject water can alleviate the challenge of extra nitrogen and carbon loadings but also provide a unique opportunity to recover useful nutrients. This project focuses on the co-management of anaerobic digester centrate and leachate to recover nutrients and treat the residues. The objectives of this project include:

  1. To determine the optimal conditions to recover nitrogen and phosphorus from the anaerobic digester centrate and landfill leachates using chemical precipitation in the form of struvite (solid that can be used as a fertilizer)
  2. To characterize the recovered struvite to determine its fertilizer quality and check for the presence of other metals and hormones
  3. To initiate and operate a two-stage treatment process to remove carbon from the residual liquid waste obtained after nutrient recovery
  4. To conduct life cycle analysis (LCA) of the proposed nutrient recovery and treatment scheme