College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Beijing Engineering Research Center of Advanced Wastewater Treatment, Peking University, No 5, Yi Heyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing, 100871, China. [Email]
The investigation of municipal solid waste (MSW) treatment in China is rare due to its sensitivity and difficulty in terms of access. We chose Beijing, the capital of China, as an example to identify the characteristics of MSW landfill treatments using a 2-month investigation with 20 participants. MSW landfill treatments account for nearly 70% of the annual MSW disposal in Beijing; the landfill processes are equipped with many kinds of technologies and consume a large amount of energy and produce a variety of contaminants. The cover method (the most obvious difference in landfill tamping) mainly includes high-density polyethylene (HDPE) geomembranes with loess and soil alone (i.e., loess or sandy soil). We investigated the actual conditions of landfills and collected data on leachate and landfill gas (LFG) emissions and energy consumption during 2009-2011. The results indicated that the cover method employed by landfills was related to treatment quantity, operation, and especially landfill location. Early large-scale landfills located in plains were covered with HDPE geomembranes, and newly built landfills covered with soil tended to be equipped with HDPE covers. Using HDPE cover also contributed greatly to LFG production due to its impermeability but had no remarkable effect on leachate yield reduction due to the dry climate in Beijing. The potential was reinforced by the potentials of decrement and reuse. The disposal method of LFG can be optimized, and the power generated by the LFG process can meet the landfill demand. The gray water recycled from the leachate could be used in the landfill process.