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Sci Total Environ. 2009 Jun 1;407(12):3674-80. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.03.006. Epub 2009 Apr 5.

Flooding of municipal solid waste landfills--an environmental hazard?

Author information

1
Vienna University of Technology, Institute for Water Quality, Resources and Waste Management, A-1040 Vienna, Karlsplatz 13/226, Austria. d.laner@iwa.tuwien.ac.at

Abstract

Municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills pose a long-lasting risk for humans and the environment. While landfill emissions under regular operating conditions are well investigated, landfill behaviour and associated emissions in case of flooding are widely unknown, although damages have been documented. This paper aims at developing a methodology for determining the proportion of MSW landfills endangered by flooding, and at evaluating the impact flooded landfills might have on the environment during a flood event. The risk of flooding of MSW landfills is assessed by using information about flood risk zones. Out of 1064 landfills investigated in Austria, 312 sites or about 30% are located in or next to areas flooded on average once in 200 years. Around 5% of these landfills are equipped with flood protection facilities. Material inventories of 147 landfill sites endangered by flooding are established, and potential emissions during a flood event are estimated by assuming the worst case of complete landfill leaching and erosion. The environmental relevance of emissions during flooding is discussed on the basis of a case study in the western part of Austria. Although environmental hazards need to be assessed on a site- and event-specific basis, the results indicate that flooded MSW landfills represent in general small environmental risks for the period of flooding. The longer term consequences of flooding are discussed in a next paper.

PMID:
19345983
DOI:
10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.03.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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