August 10, 2021

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Kwasi Badu-Tweneboah and Richard Tedder Led Panel Discussion on Leachate Issues at SWANA Florida Virtual Spring Conference

Kwasi Badu-Tweneboah, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE., F.ASCE, and Richard Tedder, P.E. (Florida) led a Leachate Issues Panel Discussion at the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) Florida Virtual Spring Conference at 11:00 a.m. on May 11, 2021.

Kwasi and Richard's co-presenters were Jason Gorrie, JMG Engineering; Himanshu Mehta, IRC SWDD; and John Weigold, Heartland Water Technology.

Kwasi Badu-Tweneboah is a Principal Engineer based in Florida with more than 30 years of consulting and research experience focusing on the design, permitting, construction, operation, and closure of containment systems for solid, hazardous and radiological wastes, sediments, and surface impoundments; and geosynthetics applications in civil engineering.

Richard Tedder has more than 35 years of experience that includes working for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), most recently as the Administrator for the Solid Waste Section of the Division of Waste Management. He earned a reputation throughout industry as a reasonable regulator that utilized science to make decisions. He has been intimately involved in rule development, guidance, and policy issues associated with all aspects of waste management for the State of Florida.

SWANA is an organization of professionals committed to advancing from solid waste management to resource management through their shared emphasis on education, advocacy, and research. The Florida Chapter, which was founded in 1978, is now the largest single SWANA chapter, serving more than 600 members statewide.


Evolution of Leachate Management/Treatment Strategies for Solid Waste Landfills in Florida
Authors: Kwasi Badu-Tweneboah, Herwig Goldemund, and Richard Tedder (Geosyntec)

Management of municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill leachate has historically been discharged (via a sewer system) to an off-site publicly owned treatment works (POTW) or off-site trucking to a POTW or an industrial wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) for ultimate treatment and disposal. However, recent restrictions on POTW treatment and discharge requirements, under either the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) or local permits, have required owners and operators to pursue other leachate management options and/or provide on-site pretreatment to allow continued discharge to a POTW. Also, recent concerns with emerging contaminants such as per- and poly-fluoralkyl substances (PFAS) that might be present in landfill leachate have made POTWs reluctant to accept such leachates. Other commonly used leachate management approaches at MSW (i.e., Class I) landfills are: (i) on-site leachate recirculation back into the landfill; (ii) volume reduction using evaporation technology; (iii) discharge into an on-site underground injection control (UIC) well; (iv) off-site trucking to an off-site UIC well; and (v) on-site treatment using a variety of physical, chemical, and/or biological approaches ranging from reverse osmosis (RO) to sequencing batch reactors (SBRs), aerated lagoons, and constructed wetlands. On-site treatment may be performed to meet industrial pretreatment standards for eventual discharge to a POTW, or it may be utilized as a stand-alone treatment system for subsequent discharge via a NPDES permit or an UIC permit, on-site reuse, or land application.

In recent years, the authors have seen an increased pursuit via permitting and pilot testing of thermal evaporation technology to manage leachate from Class I landfills in Florida. Most of the leachate evaporation systems utilize landfill gas (LFG), which is usually available at the landfill, to reduce the volume of leachate requiring disposal. Leachate evaporation can achieve volume reductions of up to approximately 95 percent and the residual can be solidified with absorptive material (e.g., soils, mulch, ash, etc.) for disposal at the on-site landfill. The use of an on-site or off-site UIC well has also been pursued by several Class I landfill facilities, especially those owned or operated by private waste management firms. The main advantage of using UIC well is the direct disposal without treatment of the leachate whereas other leachate management technologies require both treatment of liquids and disposal of the treatment residuals. This paper will present: (i) an overview of leachate management technologies; (ii) summary of current leachate management options used at Florida Class I landfills based on review of Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Electronic Management System (OCULUS); and (iii) the authors' recent experience with some of these technologies for use at Class I landfills in Florida.

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For consultation regarding leachate issues, contact Kwasi Badu-Tweneboah at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Richard Tedder at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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