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Experimental investigation on shear strength and permeability of a deeply dewatered sewage sludge for use in landfill covers

Chen, Ping, Zhan, Liangtong, Wilson, Ward
Environmental earth sciences 2014 v.71 no.10 pp. 4593-4602
building construction, clay, cohesion, friction, heavy metals, landfills, leaching, municipal wastewater, new methods, permeability, rain, seepage, sewage sludge, shear strength, soaking, toxicity, wastewater treatment, water content, China
This paper presents an experimental study on a deeply dewatered sewage sludge produced by using a new technique of membrane filter press. The experiments involve measurements of sludge composition, basic physical properties, shear strength, water permeability, and leaching toxicity. The measurements of shear strength and permeability were also performed on the sludge specimens soaked in a low acid leachate or distilled water for 1 and 2 months. This is to investigate the influence of chemical change in pore fluid as a result of rainfall infiltration or leachate seepage at landfills. Comparison tests were also carried out on silty clay that is commonly used for landfill cover material. The experimental results show that the deeply dewatered sludge contains 66 % organic content and 85 % water content (dry mass basis). The undrained shear strength of the sludge is >25 kPa even after 2-month soaking in the leachate and distilled water, meeting the requirement of the Chinese standard [CJ/T249-2007, Disposal of sludge from municipal wastewater treatment plant: sludge quality for co-landfilling. Ministry of Building and Construction, P.R. China (in Chinese), 2007]. The measured cohesion and friction angle for the sludge are >20 kPa and 22.3°, respectively. The soaking of sludge specimens in either leachate or distilled water resulted in an increase in frictional angle by several degrees. The water permeability for the sludge ranges from 0.68 × 10⁻⁸to 1.3 × 10⁻⁸ cm/s, and permeability after 2-month soaking is less than the minimum requirement for the barrier layer of landfill covers (i.e., 1.0 × 10⁻⁷ cm/s). The concentrations of heavy metals leaching from the dewatered sludge are lower than the limit values of leaching toxicity for the wastewater discharge standard of China. The experimental results indicate that deeply dewatered sludge can be used as an alternative material for the barrier layer of landfill covers.