How to deal with landfill leachate pollution

How to deal with landfill leachate pollution?

How the Waste Incineration Power Generation industry to deal with this new landfill leachate pollution problem, in order to win public trust?

This article comes from the “New Century” Magazine No. 6,2011 Publication Date Is February 14th, 2011. Reporter: YunXu Qu

January 24, 2011 is the deadline to make a tender Phase II of Garbage incineration power plant named “tiger pit” in Bao’an District Shenzhen City. But the second phase can eliminate the risk of leachate contamination , a legacy of the project is resolved or not, are still full of doubt.

How to deal with leachate, has been the the pain in waste incineration plants of tiger pit heart for a long time. Since five years ago, the leachate are sometimes sent to the sewage treatment plant to go through the motions, sometimes even pull the waste-water  into rivers directly.

Waste incineration and landfill projects will generate leachate. The so-called leachate, which is high concentration organic wastewater produced by fermentation of after accumulation of garbage , the concentration of pollutants can be up to tens of thousands of milligrams per liter, also may contain a large number of heavy metals. The normal concentration of pollutants in wastewater is typically a few hundred milligrams per liter. Landfill leachate on the environment and human health even more than ordinary sewage, ordinary sewage treatment plants  are often helpless.

For China’s waste incinerationpower industry, leachate is undoubtedly a new worry. “China is not yet has a national survey of leachate contamination or report, if someone is willing to do, I believe that pollution should be quite amazing.” School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Professor Lei Hengyi said.

Untreated Waste-water events

September 2010, the tiger pit waste incineration plants and another company waste incineration- Nanshan leachate waste-incineration plants in Shenzhen put the untreated Waste-water into public became a view event.

“The Southern Metropolis Daily”  and other public Guangdong media received the news that a tanker discharge the waste water  to the river in the mountains area in  Dongguan city. This tanker is from Shenzhen Guangyi Hung Industrial Investment Limited (Guangyihong), the company responsible to transport the landfill leachate for transport tiger pit waste incineration plants and Nanshan waste incineration plants.

Guangdong Provincial Environmental Protection Department has also determined that Shenzhen Ming Jie Environmental, Inc. (referred to as Ming Jie company below) for these two waste incineration plants transporting the leachate waste-water treatment process also acts like this without treatment. It is reported that although the tanker cleaning company into a sewage treatment plant, but did not lead to the sewage treatment plant outfall, the inlet, but directly to the leachate into the sewer, the results is the local river polluted.

Later, Guangyihong subjected to administrative punishment, a fine of 80,000 yuan RMB, 40,000 yuan RMB pay for sewage charges. For the Ming Jie company’s waste-water treatment, still no public findings and results.

Shenzhen Energy Environmental, Inc responsible this two waste incineration power plant  for construction and operation . (referred  as  Shenzhen Energy below), the development minister Xiongang Bai was interviewed with our correspondents and acknowledged that   before the incident came to light in the waste-water treatment , this two waste incineration plants had  through the transport company commissioned sewage treatment plant to treat this leachate, but because the management is not in place,for the qualification  of the transport companies and the final process are not understood.

Waste incineration plant is located in Nanshan quarry, Nanshan District, Shenzhen, an engineering daily processing capacity is 800 tons, in July 2003 ignition; tiger pit waste incineration power plant is located in  Tongxia Chung, Baoan District, Shenzhen, an engineering daily processing capacity is 1200 tons, commissioned in December 2005. As other domestic waste incineration plants, these two companies had provided electricity in the digestion of waste and made ​​a great contribution. However, at the same time, residents nearby began to worry about its leachate.

Ang explained by Xiongang Bai, these two waste incineration plants both have leachate treatment facilities, they only commissioned a third party to process just because an increase in the amount of waste entering the leachate treatment capacity then failed to keep up. In the event of concern, the two waste incineration plants were reduced by the amount of waste into the plant.

Shenneng environmental protection also reply to our correspondent in a written said that these two waste incineration plants have back all or most of the leachate spray incineration, still can not handle their own for the remainder of leachate transported to the designated sewage treatment plant and discharge according to “Shenzhen Habitat Commission, the Municipal water Authority and other government departments and co-ordination. ”

The tiger pit waste incineration power plant resposible for the Management Bureau of Shenzhen Baoan District. The engineers of this bureau  Chen interview with our correspondents, said that now the dry season, water content reduces landfill leachate, back spray burning method is feasible; once the Shenzhen into the rainy season last up to six months, this method is no longer applicable, leachate still need sinotrans and commissioned sewage treatment plants.

However, the surrounding residents  is still skeptical for waste incineration plants leachate can truly “discharge” or not.

Who will deal with leachate?

Above several landfill leachate waste-water treatment events, involving waste incineration power plants upstream, midstream, transportation companies, and are not treated directly downstream of sewage treatment plant. Measured comprehensively, how to deal with the leachate produced by garbage incineration power plant in the end ?

According to the 2008 implementation of the “Landfill Pollution Control Standard”, the existing landfill leachate can be sent to the city two sewage treatment plants, but must meet several conditions, including heavy metals in leachate concentration is not exceeded and so on. The standard also provides that begin from 1 July 2011 , all of the existing solid waste landfill leachate should handle their own leachate and can not be handed over to the sewage treatment plant again.

The standard is against for the landfills of household garbage, waste incineration project leachate has no specific provisions so far. But Professor Hengyi Lei believe that waste incineration pollution control projects should be to handle the future, rather than transport to the external sewage treatment plant.

Even if the sewage treatment plant is willing to do business conscience, refuse to discharge untreatment leachate behavior, may also be powerless. Hengyi Lei said that the high concentration of pollutants in the leachate, especially ammonia concentration is too high, and may contain heavy metals, through the normal sewage treatment process can not meet emission standards. The parties responsible for the sewage treatment plant in Shenzhen admit to the media that it does not have leachate treatment equipments and waste incineration capacity.

January 2011, the eve of Chinese New Year Year of Rabbit, tiger pit waste incineration power plant open a tender for the second phase incinerator equipment and leachate collection devices. Second phase of daily processing capacity of 3,000 tons, will be completed in the first half of 2012.

According to the EIA report, the remaining leachate of a second phase project is hundreds of tons per day,  the process is condensated treatment facilities into the low-temperature evaporation, the resulting concentrated solution back to the burning spray, condensation of water together with the biological treatment of domestic sewage and then into the sewage treatment plant via the municipal pipe network.

Shenneng environmental protection, said that the landfill leachate treatment plant has increase the evaporation process of concentrate link for the  two projects supporting the construction, “solve the  long-troubled problem of  the concentrate can not be handle generated by film leachate treatment process ,” which is greater of investment compared with other domestic plants, while the treated water is also strive to achieve full reuse.

In fact, waste incineration leachate problem is not can be solved completely. Hengyi Lei  said,  the investment to the leachate treatment for waste incineration power plant, accounting for a total investment of is about 5% -8%, if the self-treatment, the cost is not high. Everbright International (00257.HK) environmental engineer any of Everbright’s brilliant double also told correspondents: “Now that because the domestic does not implement garbage handling, waste leachate composition is very complex, there are a few plants can handle much of the sewage treatment, outsourcing deal can not surely save money in fact. ”

According to the introduction of Yanshuang Ren , the costs of eachate treatment for Everbright Environmental Protection is  26-27 yuan RMB per ton, which  are much higher than a few cents per ton that ordinary sewage treatment costs, but lower than 40-50 yuan per ton in common costs in this industy. Take the daily processing 1,000 tons of waste incineration plants for example, every day about 300-400 tons leachate produced , investment  of leachate treatment is 25 million once, to be run need to spend million a day.

Hengyi Lei said that the environmental risk of leachate is mainly reflected in two aspects: First, the case of heavy rain could easily lead to leakage of leachate; second is due to the lack of leachate treatment equipment, waste disposal companies, or processing equipment technology is not unqualified. He had met many times companies act the industrial wastewater treatment system as the leachate treatment system.

Beijing University Shenzhen Graduate School of Environment and Energy Professor Qiyong Xu also noted that due to different eating habits, China’s domestic waste contains large amounts of water, landfill leachate is much higher than other countries’.

Once the landfill leachate maks pollution, its impact is difficult to eliminate  in a short term. Hengyi Lei said, for example, in 1995,  a landfill in Datianshan, Guangdong had a pollution incident, the leachate into the water, resulting the downstream smelly in less than two kilometers, contaminated soil and groundwater at the same time, the affected areas  failed to recover so far.

Throughout 2010, there are at least dozens of nationwide garbage incineration power projects cost billion yuan investment under construction. However, as EIA projects reported, involved part of landfill leachate is basically a band before, but  not specified the approach and treatment facilities.

Clearly, it is not a easy task to really solve the leachate problem by China’s waste incineration power generation plants and win public trust.

“New Century” magazine correspondent  Jiapeng Wang also contributed to the article.

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