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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2008 Jan;15(1):51-60.

Non-controlled biogenic emissions to the atmosphere from Lazareto landfill, Tenerife, Canary Islands.

Author information

1
Environmental Research Division, Institute of Technology & Renewable Energy (ITER), 38611 Granadilla, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. dacil@iter.es

Abstract

GOAL, SCOPE AND BACKGROUND:

[corrected] Historically, landfills have been the simplest form of eliminating urban solid waste with the minimum cost. They have been the most usual method for discarding solid waste. However, landfills are considered authentic biochemical reactors that introduce large amounts of contaminants into the environment in the form of gas and leachates. The dynamics of generation and the movement of gas in landfills depend on the input and output parameters, as well as on the structure of the landfill and the kind of waste. The input parameters include water introduced through natural or artificial processes, the characteristics of the urban solid waste, and the input of atmospheric air. The main output parameters for these biochemical reactors include the gases and the leachates that are potentially pollutants for the environment. Control systems are designed and installed to minimize the impact on the environment. However, these systems are not perfect and a significant amount of landfill gas could be released to the atmosphere through the surface in a diffuse form, also known as Non-controlled emission. In this paper, the results of the Non-controlled biogenic gas emissions from the Lazareto landfill in Tenerife, Canary Islands, are presented. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the concentration of CH4 and CO2 in the soil gas of the landfill cover, the CH4 and CO2 efflux from the surface of the landfill and, finally, to compare these parameters with other similar landfills. In this way, a better understanding of the process that controls biogenic gas emissions in landfills is expected.

METHODS:

A Non-controlled biogenic gas emission survey of 281 sampling sites was carried out during February and March, 2002. The sampling sites were selected in order to obtain a well-distributed sampling grid. Surface landfill CO2 efflux measurements were carried out at each sampling site on the surface landfill together with soil gas collection and ground temperatures at a depth of 30-40 cm. The CH4 efflux was computed from CO2 efflux and from the ratio CH4/CO2 in the soil gas. Soil gas samples were collected at a depth of 30-40 cm using a metallic probe and 20 cc hypodermic syringes, and later stored in evacuated 10 cc vacutainers for laboratory analysis of bulk composition. The gas sample was introduced in a vacutainer filled with deionized water and displacing the water until the vacutainer was filled with the gas sample in order to avoid air contamination from entering. The surface landfill temperature of the landfill was measured at a depth of 40 cm using a digital thermometer type OMEGA 871A. Landfill gases, CO2 and CH4, were analyzed within 24 hours using a double channel VARIAN micro-GC QUAD CP-2002P, with a 10 meter PORAPLOT-Q column, a TCD detector, and He as a carrier gas. The analysis temperature was 40 degrees C and the injection time was 10 msec. Surface landfill CO2 efflux measurements were performed using a portable NDIR spectrophotometer Licor-800 according to the accumulation chamber method (Chiodini et al. 1996). The data treatment, aimed at drawing the flux map and computing the total gas output, was based on the application of stochastic simulation algorithms provided by the GSLIB program (Deutsch and Journel 1998).

RESULTS:

Diffuse CH4 and CO2 efflux values range from negligible values up to 7,148 and 30,573 g m(-2) d(-1), respectively. The spatial distribution of the concentration and efflux of CO2, CH4 and soil temperature, show three areas of maximum activity in the landfill, suggesting a non-uniform pattern of diffuse degassing. This correlation between high emissions and concentration of CO2, CH4 and soil temperatures suggests that the areas of higher microbial activity and exothermic reactions are releasing CO2 and CH4 to the atmosphere from the landfill. Taking into consideration the spatial distribution of the CO2 and CH4 efflux values as well as the extension of the landfill, the Non-controlled emission of CO2 and CH4 to the atmosphere by the Lazareto's landfill are of 167 +/- 13.3 and 16 +/- 2.5 t d(-1), respectively.

DISCUSSION:

The patterns of gas flow within the landfill seem to be affected by boundary materials at the sides. The basalt layers have a low permeability and the gas flow in these areas is extensive. In this area, where a basalt layer does not exist, the flow gas diffuses toward the sea and the flux emissions at the landfill surface are lower. This behavior reflects the possible dissolution of gases into water and the deflection of gases towards the surface at the basalt boundary. The proximity to the sea, the installation of a palm tree garden and, as a result, the contribution of water coming from the watering of this garden has reactivated the system. The introduction of sea water into the landfill and the type of boundary could be defining the superficial gas discharges.

CONCLUSIONS:

Results from this study indicate that the spatial distribution of Non-controlled emission of CO2 and CH4 at the Lazareto's landfill shows a non-uniform pattern of diffuse degassing. The northeast, central and northwest areas of the Lazareto's landfill are the three areas of high emissions and concentration of CO2 and CH4, and high temperatures. The correlation between high emissions and the concentration of CO2, CH4, and the high temperatures suggest that the areas of higher microbial activity and exothermic reactions are releasing more CO2 and CH4 to the atmosphere from the landfill. A high concentration of CO2 is probably due to the presence of methanotrophic bacteria in the soil atmosphere of the landfill. Patterns of gas flow within the landfill seem to be affected by boundary materials (basalt layers) of low permeability, and side boundaries of the flux emissions at the surface are higher. At the sides of seawater and sediment boundaries, flux emissions at the landfill surface are lower. This behavior reflects a possible dissolution of gases into the water and the deflection of gases towards the surface at the basalt boundary. With this study, we can compare the data obtained in this landfill with other landfills and observe the different levels of emission. The proximity to the sea and the installation of the palm tree garden palms and, as a result, the contribution of water coming from the watering of this garden has reactivated the system. Many landfills worldwide located in similar settings could experience similar gas production processes.

RECOMMENDATIONS AND PERSPECTIVES:

The need for investigating and monitoring sea water and sediment quality in these landfills is advisable. Concentrations and fluxes of contaminants and their impact in the area should be assessed. With this study we can compare the data obtained in these landfills with other landfills and observe the different levels of emission.

PMID:
18306888
DOI:
10.1065/espr2007.02.392
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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