The characteristics of leachate from landfills vary according to site-specific conditions. Leachates from old landfills are often rich in ammonia nitrogen, posing potential adverse environmental impacts in the case of uncontrolled discharge. At landfills where leachate recirculation is practiced, leachate ammonia concentrations may accumulate to higher levels than during the single pass leaching. Using leachate recirculation with system modifications, separate aerobic and anoxic zones for nitrification and both autotrophic and heterotrophic denitrification can be provided. Results from simulated landfill bioreactors indicated that both nitrogenous and sulfur compounds can be attenuated through autotrophic denitrification, and leachate nitrate concentrations of 750 mg/L reduced to less than 1 mg/L by denitrification to nitrogen gas promoting this very common process in a landfill environment results in the reduction of both leachate ammonia and sulfate concentrations.

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