Landfill Leachate Plumes: Characterization, Natural Attenuation, and Bioremediation

Mass urbanization in the U.S.-Mexico Border region has resulted in a large number of uncontrolled or illegal municipal and hazardous waste landfills. Plumes generated from these landfills are threatening scarce water supplies in this semi-arid region.

The objectives of this collaborative project are twofold:

  • To identify xenobiotic organic contaminants (XOC) in landfill leachates from Mexican Border communities.
  • To characterize processes contributing to their natural attenuation.

Certain XOCs are poorly biodegraded and mobilized under prevailing anaerobic conditions. Examples of such XOCs include benzene, gasoline oxygenates, and lower chlorinated solvents.

This study elevated the feasibility of permeable reactive barriers (PRBs) supplied with selected slow-release oxidant compounds to bioremediate recalcitrant XOCs in landfill leachate plumes. PRBs provide an innovative, low-cost solution to prevent contaminants to migrate into groundwater.

 

 

The technology is simple and involves a trench filled with porous reactive media that is placed in the flow path of a contaminant plume. The goal is either to immobilizing or transforming contaminants to nontoxic products. The municipal landfill of Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico has been selected as the main study site.

The project will ultimately provide a protocol for evaluating landfill lechate plume problems in Mexico. In addition, it will demonstrate the effectiveness of a cost effective PRB approach towards it remediation. This project focuses on bench-scale demonstration with future application in the field.

 

 

 

Project Contacts:

Dr. Jim A. Field
The University of Arizona
Principal Investigator – U.S.
jimfield@email.arizona.edu

Dr. Rogelio Vázquez Gonzalez
Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada
Principal Investigator – Mexico
rvazquez@cicese.mx

Dr. Reyes Sierra
The University of Arizona
Principal Investigator – U.S.
rsierra@email.arizona.edu

Dr. Sergio Revah Moiseev
Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana
Principal Investigator – Mexico
srevah@xanum.uam.mx

 

Dr. Marcia Guadalupe Morales Ibarria
Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana
Investigator - Mexico
mmorales@correo.cua.uam.mx