Document Type


Date of Award

Spring 5-31-1979

Degree Name

Doctor of Engineering Science in Civil Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

John W. Liskowitz

Second Advisor

Angelo J. Perna

Third Advisor

Robert Dresnack

Fourth Advisor

Paul C. Chan

Fifth Advisor

Richard B. Trattner


A sorbent treatment process has been developed which uses natural clay soils and fly ashes as sorbents in the treatment of the hazardous contaminants of potential sludge leachate emanating from industrial landfills. Natural sorbents (i.e., vermiculite, illite, kaolinite, zeolite, acidic and basic fly ashes) were evaluated for the removal of specific cations, anions, and organics from leachates generated from three industrial sludges (i.e., calcium fluoride, metal finishing, and petroleum). The laboratory results indicate that, rather than a single sorbent, a combination of acidic and basic sorbents in a layered system is required to reduce for the measurable contaminants present in the leachate to safe levels. These combinations are: illite, vermiculite and zeolite for an acidic leachate; illite, acidic fly ash and zeolite for a neutral leachate; and illite, kaolinite, and zeolite for an alkaline leach-ate. The selection of these sorbent combinations is based upon a comparison of their individual sorbent capacities.

pH control of leachate is essential for effective treatment. The removal of anions is favored by acidic conditions, cations by alkaline conditions, and the organic either by acidic or alkaline conditions. A study of a pilot scale lysimeter system reveals that the effectiveness of sorbents is dependent upon two factors, namely the velocity of leachate through the sorbent and the sorbent removal capacity for specific contaminants. The sorbent costs for a combined sorbent system used to treat the industrial sludge leachates are comparable to those of refined sorbents.



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