Ad hoc landfill: PARAFAC of pollution risk

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  • Published: Jul 15, 2017
  • Author: David Bradley
  • Channels: Chemometrics & Informatics
thumbnail image: Ad hoc landfill: PARAFAC of pollution risk

Landfill leachate

Simple landfills in developing countries represent a threat to soil and groundwater through toxic leachate. Soil column experiments to simulate pollution have been assessed using PARAFAC modelling of three-dimensional excitation-emission fluorescence to evaluate the specific risks.

There are countless ad hoc and unmonitored landfill sites that litter the world, particularly in developing countries. Their existence represents a tremendous threat to soil and groundwater through leachate that may emerge from such landfills. Soil column experiments to simulate pollution effect based on a PARAFAC model of three-dimensional excitation-emission fluorescence (3D-EEMF) could be used a way to evaluate specific risk.

The waste problems associated with rapid urbanization and increasing product consumption in parts of the world that have not until recently had to face millions of tons of municipal solid waste are not going away. In the absence of the necessary technology to process, recycle or burn waste as a fuel, the simplest way to dispose of all that waste is simply to send it to landfill. That latter term encompasses a wide variety of handling methods from simply dumping the waste in open heaps to digging holes in which to bury it. Either way, uncontrolled and unregulated leaching of liquid matter from such sites is a growing problem.


Writing in the journal Waste Management, Hongwei Pan, Hongjun Lei, , Xin Liu, Huaibin Wei, and Shufang Liu of the North China University of Water Conservancy and Electric Power, in Zhengzhou, China, explain that a large number of simple and informal landfills exist in developing countries. They add that early warning and monitoring of landfill leachate pollution status is of great importance because toxic components, including metal ions and organic compounds can enter soil and drinking water readily from such sites where rarely are environmental protection measures put in place.

However, they point out that there is a shortage of affordable and effective tools and methods for such monitoring. As such, the team has carried out soil column experiments to simulate the pollution status of leachate. The experiments used 3D-EEMF and thence parallel factor analysis to model likely problems. They add that sum of squared residuals (SSR) and principal component analysis (PCA) were also used to optimise the components for PARAFAC.

One-way analysis

"A one-way analysis of variance showed that the component scores of the soil column leachate were significant influenced by landfill leachate," the team reports. This suggests that the ratio of the component scores of the soil under the landfill to that of natural soil could be used to evaluate the leakage status of landfill leachate without the need for sophisticated and expensive analytical tools. In addition, the team has defined a hazard index (HI) and a hazard evaluation standard for landfill leachate using their approach. They have then undertaken a case study of Kaifeng landfill to demonstrate efficacy. Their results with this particular site show that it is a low hazard (level 5) area using their HI. The HI of other sites might be very different and could be used to quickly provide guidance for municipal solid waste management.

Related Links

Waste Manag 2017, online: "Assessment on the leakage hazard of landfill leachate using three-dimensional excitation-emission fluorescence and parallel factor analysis method"

Article by David Bradley

The views represented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

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