Sanitary landfill leachate has been a source of environmental concern due to its high organic strength and chemical diversity. A number of lab-scale and pilot scale studies have indicated that the anaerobic filter is highly competitive with other forms of biological treatment and has distinct economic advantages. While there have been a number of studies based on a general overall approach to leachate treatment by the anaerobic filter, limited information is available on the role played by essential nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus in the biological treatment process.
Laboratory studies were conducted at room temperature (22 °C) to study the effect of nutrient addition (specifically, phosphorus, the deficient constituent of leachate) on treatment efficiency of landfill leachate by the upflow anaerobic filter. Two anaerobic filters (0.975 metres x 0.15 metres diameter) were constructed using plexiglass pipes and packed with strips of corrugated fibre-glass sheets in four layers to form the filter bed. Leachate collected from a nearby landfill was applied at moderate organic loadings (1.8-4.0 kg COD/m3/day) to the two units maintaining a HRT of 0.987 days.
Results indicate phosphorus addition may be made to organically diverse wastes such as landfill leachate with distinct advantages.