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Rapid Stabilization of Municipal Solid Waste in Bioreactor Landfills: Predictive Performance Using Coupled Modeling

Paper Topic: 
Protection and restoration of the environment

Pages :

Corresponing Author: 
Krishna R. Reddy
Kumar G., Reddy K.R.
Paper ID: 
Paper Status: 
Date Paper Accepted: 
Paper online: 

Municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills are one of the major and most preferred waste management options in the United States and many other countries across the globe. The waste in conventional MSW landfills undergoes very slow decomposition due to limited amount of moisture. In this regard, the bioreactor landfills have emerged as an effective waste management option, wherein leachate recirculation/injection is carried out to enhance the moisture levels within the waste thereby facilitating rapid waste decomposition and leading to early waste stabilization. However, in practice the performance of bioreactor landfills has remained inconclusive due to the lack of sound basis for effective design and operation of such landfills. This further stems from the fact that there is a limited understanding of the physical, chemical and biological processes and their coupled interactions on the MSW behavior in landfills. Hence, it becomes imperative to understand the influence of the coupled processes on the waste behavior to predict the overall performance of bioreactor landfills. Several researchers have developed numerical models to simulate waste behavior but only a few models have considered the simultaneous interactions of hydraulic, mechanical, and biological processes within the waste in their numerical model. In this study, newly developed numerical framework incorporating coupled thermo-hydro-bio-mechanical processes is presented. The numerical model can predict the spatial and temporal variation of waste temperatures, moisture distribution, gas generation, pore pressures, waste settlement, waste slope stability, and interface shear response in the landfill liner system. The numerical model has been validated with lab-scale and field-scale experiments and could be used to design and operate stable and effective bioreactor landfills.

Solid waste management, Bioreactor landfills, Leachate recirculation, Coupled processes, Numerical modeling, Composite liner system