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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2008

Leachability and metal-binding capacity in ageing landfill material

Ostman, M.; Wahlberg, O.; Martensson, A.


In order to study the stability of landfilled heavy metals, landfill material from a combined household and industrial waste landfill was aerated for 14 months to simulate the natural ageing processes as air slowly begins to penetrate the landfill mass. During aeration, the pH of the landfill material decreased from around 8.6 to 8.1 and the carbon content also decreased. In order to investigate the possible fate of metals in ageing landfills, a four-stage sequential extraction technique was applied. The ability of the materials to bind metal ions by electrostatic attractions and to form stronger complexes was studied separately. The amount of exchangeable cations, the capacity to bind metal ions by electrostatic attraction and the capacity of the landfill material to complex copper ions were increased by the aeration process. However, results from the sequential analysis showed an increased solubility of sulphur and some metals (Cd, Co, Cu, Ni and Zn). Equilibrium speciation models (Medusa) indicated that the organic matter deposit had a significant capacity to bind metal ions provided that pH was sufficiently high. However, as carbonates are consumed over time, the risk for metal mobility increases. Therefore, the landfills can become an environmental risk, depending on variations in the solubility of metal ions due to changes in pH, redox status and the availability of organic material. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Published in

Waste Management
2008, Volume: 28, number: 1, pages: 142-150

      SLU Authors

    • Östman, Monica

      • Department of Soil Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
    • Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG6 Clean water and sanitation

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Agricultural Science

      Publication identifier


      Permanent link to this page (URI)