A complex series of chemical and microbiological reactions is initiated with the burial of refuse in a sanitary landfill. At the end of each labour day, the municipal solid wastes (MSW) are covered with native soil (or an alternative material). To investigate interaction between the intermediate cover and the MSW, five sets of columns were set up, one packed with refuse only, and four with a soil-refuse mixture (a clay loam, an organic-rich peaty soil, a well limed sandy soil and a chalky soil). The anaerobic degradation over 6 months was followed in terms of leachate volatile fatty acids, chemical oxygen demand, pH and ammoniacal-N performance. Results suggest that the organic-rich peaty soil may accelerate the end of the acidogenic phase. Clay appeared not to have a significant effect on the anaerobic degradation process.

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