When landfills are lined, as almost all of them are now, the leachate is collected and sooner or later even after treatment to a high quality standard, it has to be disposed of off-site in some way. That's where leachate pumping and the pumps that are needed to accomplish it come into the news.
In our first article the issue is aired as to whether a leachate discharge into a United States River should be allowed.
|Leachate Trickling out of a landfill usually needs to be pumped|
(Image by indiawaterportal.org via Flickr)
To put it simply, the landfill operator wants to reduce costs by avoiding sending their leachate to the sewage works via the public sewer or a tanker vehicle.
The operator says that they can make a discharge which complies with the reasonable requirement of not reducing the water quality in the river, and no doubt they have good evidence to show that this is possible, because their are many hundreds if not thousands of river discharges of treated leachate effluent which make discharges to rivers without casing pollution.
Read on to learn more, about this issue:
Landfill owner wants to pump leachate into Shenango
SHENANGO VALLEY – After having polluted water from its River Road landfill treated for almost 30 years at the Sharon sewage treatment plant, Waste Management of Pennsylvania, Inc., thinks the leachate from its landfill that closed in 1986 may be safe enough to discharge untreated into the Shenango River.
The company has been working for two years with the state Department of Environmental Protection and federal Environmental Protection Agency and recently submitted its plan for a pilot program “to demonstrate equivalency between pumping and not pumping,” said Glenn Schultz, Waste Management’s senior project manager for the landfill. It occupies 371/2 acres of a 102-acre parcel in South Pymatuning Township and Hermitage.
Waste Management would stop pumping leachate for treatment for two years and would monitor effects on the river, he said.
“The chemistry will speak for itself,” Schultz said. “If we need to reactivate the system, that’s what we’ll do.”
Leachate that percolates through the mountain of industrial and municipal waste now covered with a grassy dirt cap collects in a gravel-filled trench. It also collects surface water and river water and the mixture, about 38,000 gallons a day or 1.1 million gallons a year, according to Dale Bucher of Upper Shenango Valley Water Pollution Control Authority, is pumped into sewer lines for treatment along with municipal waste. The Sharon plant discharges treated water into the river.
Under the landfill closure agreement with DEP, the Sharon plant tests the discharge for metals, polychlorinated biphenyl compounds and volatile organic compounds from River Road. Among a dozen metals, the primary contaminants of concern, according to the EPA, are cadmium and zinc.
PCBs from the manufacture of electrical transformers and trichloroethylene, or TCE that was used to clean grease from metals, are among the pollutants associated with area manufacturing during the years the landfill was accepting waste.
The site was removed from the National Priorities List of most hazardous waste sites, also known as the Superfund list, in January 2004. In its five-year reviews, the most recent in September 2014, EPA said it has found that remedies required at the site “remain protective of human health and the environment.”via Into the river? Landfill owner wants to pump leachate into Shenango
EPA spokesperson Bonnie Smith said the agency has set no time frame for a decision on Waste Management’s application.
“There are reports going back and forth between the agencies to make sure that if we make a decision to go ahead that we have all the science we need and information about the water and sediments before we would begin a pilot which would include very specific standards for monitoring,” she said. “We’re taking it seriously because we want the Shenango River to remain at least at the quality it is now.”
Waste Management also would have to receive a federal permit from the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System to release water into public waterways. Under EPA’s partnership with the state, the permit would be issued by DEP.
“We have to have all the science up front, both for the pilot and for the discharge permit,” Smith said. “If results of the pilot bear out what the science seemed to say, they could discharge leachate and surface water into the river.”
Waste Management would have to maintain water quality standards under the permit if one is granted and also continue to meet standards for pollutants in sediment and effects on aquatic life at the landfill and in the river that are separate from water-quality issues. Those standards come from River Road’s former listing on the Superfund list, she said.
Upper Shenango and Sharon Sanitary Authority stand to lose revenue if discharges into the river are allowed. Waste Management pays about $7,500 a month to Upper Shenango, money it uses to pay the Sharon authority for treatment and for bond payments.
“It really isn’t about the revenue,” said Guy Cunningham, manager of the Sharon authority. “None of us wants this to happen. As consumers, we don’t want to have leachate going into the river above the intakes of the Aqua plant that treats our drinking water.”
Jim Willard, Aqua’s area manager, said that whatever happens with Waste Management’s application, his company will continue to provide safe drinking water for the 75,000 people it serves in Mercer and Trumbull counties.
In our second, the same concerns are illustrated as they have been occurring in recent months for a local action group, with concerns about nuclear dump leachate. Clearly, this local pressure group is endeavoring to find out more about the nuclear radiation hazards from this contaminated groundwater.
Moorside: Radioactive Leachate from Sellafield Pumped to the River Ehen
Freedom of Information Request
29 October 2015
Dear Environment Agency,
In August 2015 Nugen (Toshiba/Engie) issued a press release saying
that they would apply for an EA license to pump “slightly
radioactively contaminated ” water from 100 boreholes into the
Have the Environment Agency carried out their own measurements of
radioactivity/chemical composition on liquid discharge from the 100
boreholes or are they relying on NUGENs own documentation?
Have the Environment Agency issued a license to dump radioactively
contaminated groundwater into the River Ehen?
If so, We would like to have sight of the rationale for this
contravention of the EAs own remit to protect the River Ehen from
pollution. For example the reasoning behind the new pipeline from
Thirlmere to protect Ennerdale and the River Ehen would be
undermined by allowing increased and concentrated radioactive
discharges from Moorside’s 100 boreholes into the River Ehen. This
Sellafield seepage would normally be held deep underground
percolating gradually over many years to the River Ehen.
Where is the radioactively contaminated soil and rock from 100
boreholes being dumped?
Are the Environment Agency carrying out their own independent
measurements of the radioactive/chemical composition of the soil
and rock from the 100 boreholes? Eg Have samples been sent to
independent laboratories worldwide? (Or are the EA relying on
NUGENs own documentation?
On behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland
We note that Energy Solutions described the buffer zone land
adjacent to Sellafield as being “too contaminated” from Sellafield
seepage to be dug deep and made into a low level radioactive waste
dump ( Keekle Head inquiry). We note also that the Copeland Local
Plan up to 2016 says that there should be NO development on this
land, in other words the land should be left as a buffer zone.
We cannot pre-judge the above two examples of scientific and political issues which occur where leachate pumping will need to be used. However, when the politicians and the government environmental protection bodies have finished talking, the leachate will have to be disposed of and that will need good reliable pumping equipment.
Here is some information on one leachate pumping company, which again has recently been feature in online news channels.
Customers recommend leachate pumps from Geotech case study on Environmental XPRT
Leachate recirculation and condensate removal from gas lines:
The AP AutoPump range
Sites across the UK
H&J Pipe Jointing Services Ltd
Colin Jones of H&J Pipe Jointing Services said, 'We were looking to supply pumps that were fit for purpose and that did the job, and after trying other brands we soon realised that the AP range are the best on the market by far. The AP range includes the most reliable pumps I have ever supplied. With a lot of the units all I need to do is an annual service, which in most cases is just a quick clean and off they go again for another year.'
H&J Pipe Jointing Services Ltd are a landfill specialist formed in 1997. They pride themselves in supplying the best products that they can. They have installed some of Geotech’s AP3 pumps on many of the sites that they maintain and after many years of use the AP3s are still going with well over 500,000 cycles.