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Development of emission testing values to assess sustainable landfill management on pilot landfills : Phase 2: Proposals for testing values

Ontwikkeling emissietoetswaarden voor het beoordelen van duurzaam stortbeheer op pilotstortplaatsen : Fase 2: voorstellen voor emissietoetswaarden

Synopsis

International research into sustainable landfill management has been carried out since the 1990s. The idea of this is that the source, the landfill itself, becomes cleaner, so that fewer harmful substances are emitted by landfills, and the surrounding soil and groundwater are protected. Up to now, there have been no techniques available whose effectiveness has been proven on a large scale. In that regard, the RIVM, in cooperation with the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), was asked to conduct research into three pilot landfills in the Netherlands. For these locations 'emission testing values' were derived that can be used to determine which emissions from landfills into the soil and groundwater are acceptable. With sustainable landfill management, the waste is actively infiltrated with water and air (active treatment). This causes processes that stimulate the degradation and binding of the substances in the landfill during a trial period of approximately ten years. After approximately ten years, the concentrations of substances remaining in the landfill should be lower: that is, concentrations of organic substances (such as PAHs), inorganic substances (such as metals) and macroparameters (such as nitrate, phosphate and chloride). The "starting point" in the calculation of the emission testing values is the maximum allowable concentration of substances in groundwater and surface water next to the landfills. From there, these concentrations are converted to quantities in the landfill leachate. Account is taken of the extent to which substances are diluted, by for example rainwater or groundwater nearby. In ground- and surface water substances can also bind to soil particles. The current policy for landfill management is focused on the complete containment of substances in the waste (waterproof and airtight, with a top cover and bottom liner). The purpose of this is to minimize the risk of contaminating the soil and the groundwater. A disadvantage is that constant and comprehensive after care is needed. Since the contaminants are not reduced, the insulation materials, which eventually become porous and start leaking, must be replaced regularly, involving considerable costs.
 

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