The Effect of Liquid Waste Addition on Degradation of Paper Products

Investigators: Virginia Tech

End Date:
Jun 2009

Award Amount:

The RD&D rule in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) allows for wastes that do not pass the paint filter test to be added to landfills. Outside commercial liquids and sludges can be added to provide nutrients and needed moisture as necessary in many bioreactor landfills to insure that the treatment cells achieve optimum moisture in a timely manner. In order to reach 30% to 45% moisture by weight, sites must add 25 to 70 gallons of water per cubic yard of in-place waste. Leachate volumes at most properties cannot meet this demand. This need, coupled with opposition to land application of biosolids and tightening regulations at local wastewater treatment plants for industrial wastes, makes the disposal of liquids to bioreactor landfills a convenient outlet for these materials.

Before accepting outside liquids or sludges it must be insured that the liquids will not have an adverse effect on the microbiological processes within the landfill. Waste stream(s) should be profiled just like any other special waste and supporting analytical test data should be kept on file to prove that it is not a hazardous waste. Waste streams that could have an adverse effect on methane production, odor generation, and air emissions require a detailed investigation to insure that these liquids do not cause problems.

The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of three types of liquid wastes on the anaerobic degradation of paper products that would be typical of landfill materials. A major constituent of landfilled solid waste is paper products. This material accounts for most of the cellulose and lignin that enters the waste stream so focusing on paper products as a first step in assessing the impact of liquid waste on degradation in bioreactor landfills receiving liquid waste.

The liquids selected were beverage waste, paint waste and surfactants. The beverage waste and paint waste was provided by Gary Hater from Waste Management, Inc. The beverage and paint wastes were delivered to the Outer Loop landfill in Louisville, KY.  No surfactant waste was available so synthetic surfactant waste was used.

Final Report