“At first sight either of the two methods Aerobic vs Anaerobic might seem feasible. In reality usually only one is “
Anaerobic treatment methods are very topical at present, so newcomers to leachate treatment often ask the question: “Which is the best leachate treatment, aerobic or anaerobic?
All set? Let's start then. First the positions in favour and the reasons supporting:
The first point in support of leachate treatment – aerobic vs anaerobic, in favor of anaerobic digestion methods will be that anaerobic is best because it will generate methane which is an energy source which will provide power to run the treatment plant and both reduce energy costs and make for a much lower carbon emission level, when compared with aerobic treatment methods.
The secondary positive point is anaerobic treatment is good at removing COD.
The third supporting point shall be that rising energy prices mean that the methane generated could be come a really valuable commodity to sell in a few more years of rising oil and gas prices.
A 4th support point in favor is going to be tht the landfill operator might also get some good publicity from producing methane and providing renewable energy to the community.
And finally, the 5th point is that is all very well, but a treatment process is only effective if it will actually result in a discharge which will comply with water quality standards set to protect the environment .
For balance then let's hear from the other side, those opposed, the “Con” side:
The main point against leachate treatment by anaerobic methods for all but the really fresh leachate from a landfill (which is not a big proportion of the total leachate generated after about the third year of site opening), is that the methanogenic landfill which creates the leachate will already have anaerobically treated the leachate. So, further anaerobic treatment in an anaerobic leachate treatment plant is not going to achieve a significant improvement of the leachate quality.
The second point against will be that leachate treatment by the anaerobic method produces a sludge which would cost money to dispose of.
The 3rd point in contrast will be all leachate treatment by anaerobic methods tend to produce odor, unless this is very assiduously avoided by the site management .
The fourth point against is leachate treatment by anaerobic systems is invariably more expensive overall than aerobic biological leachate treatment methods.
5th and ultimately, against is There are no commercially competitive organisations offering leachate treatment by anaerobic treatment.
Now each side has been heard from and the Pros and Cons are stacked up, in favour and against.
And so, who won? What can we conclude? Is leachate treatment – aerobic vs anaerobic – which of the two shows more good than bad? or maybe more bad than good?
Both questions appear to have a “yes” answer! but the occasions when the anaerobic option for leachate treatment will be the most appropriate will be very few and far between is both negative and positive. The reader must pick which side, the good or the bad, outweighs the other..