Characterization of Ultraviolet Quenching Substances (UVQS) in Landfill Leachates and Gas Well Liquids Generated from Elevated Temperature Landfills (ETLFs)


Dr. Renzun Zhao, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


In recent years, multiple municipal solid waste landfills are experiencing elevated temperature events (ETLF). It has been demonstrated that the UV quenching of leachates and gas condensates is significantly different from the previously studied ones. The project is to investigate the UV quenching characteristics of ETLF leachates and gas well liquids that can lead to cost-effective management strategy and, more importantly, provide evidence and better understanding of the cause and mechanism of ETLFs. This project is partially funded by Waste Management National Service, Inc.

isolation of humic substance in landfill leachate
Isolation of humic substance in landfill leachate


Previous studies showed that leachate samples from impacted and non-impacted areas in ETLFs have significant difference in terms of UVQS and other water quality parameters. Mechanism of ETLF is under investigation industry-wide, the hypothesis mechanisms include (not limited to): 1) pyrolysis; 2) hydrothermal carbonization; and 3) metal corrosion, etc.   Landfill leachate, along with other landfill by-products, such as landfill gas, carry valuable information that can indicate the status of physical, chemical and biochemical activities in landfills. Comparison of characteristics of landfill leachates from impacted and non-impacted areas of ETLFs can provide profound implication that can help to get better understanding of ETLF mechanism. Additionally, treatability study is necessary to mitigate the environmental impact of landfill leachate, meeting both regulatory and economical requirements. The three primary objectives are to: 1) To characterize landfill leachate and gas condensate from ETLFs with conventional and advanced analysis; 2) To provide supporting evidence and improve the mechanism understanding of ETLF; 3) To optimize treatability of landfill leachate and gas condensate and minimize their environmental impacts.


This project was funded by Waste Management National Service, Inc.


  • Jung, Y. Deng, R. Zhao, K.D. Torrens, " Chemical oxidation for mitigation of UV-quenching substances (UVQS) from municipal landfill leachate: Fenton process versus ozonation," Water Research, 108:260-270, 2017
  • Gupta, J.T. Novak, R. Zhao, " Characterization of organic matter in the thermal hydrolysis pretreated anaerobic digestion return liquor," Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, 3:2631-2636, 2015