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Development of an integrated treatment strategy for a leather tannery landfill leachate

Webler, Alberto D., Moreira, Francisca C., Dezotti, Márcia W.C., Mahler, Cláudio F., Segundo, Inalmar D. Barbosa, Boaventura, Rui A.R., Vilar, Vítor J.P.
Waste management 2019 v.89 pp. 114-128
alkalinity, ammonium, biodegradability, biological treatment, chromium, coagulants, coagulation, denitrification, electrochemistry, flocculants, flocculation, iron, landfill leachates, leather, nitrates, nitrification, nitrites, oxidation, pH, surface water, tanneries, total suspended solids, ultraviolet radiation, waste management
This study aimed at developing an efficient multistage treatment strategy for a complex industrial landfill leachate: a leather tannery landfill leachate. Based on the leachate physicochemical characteristics, the following treatment train was delineated and tested: (i) initial biological process for removal of biodegradable organics, ammonium and alkalinity, (ii) coagulation/flocculation process for total removal of chromium and partial removal of recalcitrant organics and suspended solids, (iii) advanced oxidation process (AOP) or electrochemical AOP (EAOP) for degradation of recalcitrant organics and biodegradability enhancement, and (iv) final biological polishing step. Two initial biological treatment configurations were applied: one comprising nitrification and the other nitrification-denitrification. Coagulation/flocculation was optimized in terms of pH, coagulant dosage (iron(III) chloride) and flocculant nature and dosage. The following AOPs/EAOPs were tested: Fenton, photo-Fenton with UVA or UVC radiation (PF-UVA or PF-UVC), anodic oxidation (AO), electro-Fenton (EF) and photoelectro-Fenton with UVA radiation (PEF-UVA). The biological nitrification-denitrification was beneficial not only because it avoided the need for alkalinity addition during nitrification and decreased the amount of substrate added during denitrification, as expected. Over and above that, it reduced the acid consumption in the coagulation/flocculation, avoided the application of an additional stage comprising nitrites oxidation to nitrates prior to the AOP/EAOP, and improved the efficiency of Fenton’s reaction based processes. Following nitrification-denitrification, the coagulation/flocculation was maximized at pH 3.0 and 400 mg Fe L−1 with no flocculant addition. The PEF-UVA process was the best AOP/EAOP. The final leachate fulfilled the discharge limits into waterbodies.