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Landfill Leachates, Part I: Origin and Characterization

Waste Water Treatment

  1. A.I. Zouboulis1,
  2. P. Samaras2

Published Online: 15 APR 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.ww106

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Zouboulis, A. and Samaras, P. 2005. Landfill Leachates, Part I: Origin and Characterization. Water Encyclopedia. 1:699–702.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece

  2. 2

    Chemical Process Engineering Research Institute, Thermi-Thessaloniki, Greece

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2005


Sanitary landfilling is the most widely used method for disposing of urban solid wastes around the world. The extensive use and the public awareness of this disposal method have raised concerns, over the negative environmental impacts and the pollution potential that this practice creates, as well as by the by-products of landfills (e.g., leachates, biogas, odors, etc.). Among them, leachates are considered the most important environmental burden. Depending on the composition and extent of decomposition of the disposal of refuse, as well as on the hydrological parameters existing in the landfill site, leachates may become highly contaminated wastewaters.

Landfill leachate, as defined in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 40, Part 258.2, is the liquid that has passed through, or emerged from the disposal of solid wastes and contains soluble, suspended, or miscible materials from these wastes. Over time, the seepage of water through the landfill mainly from precipitation increases the mobility of pollutants and the potential for transferring them into the surrounding environment. As water passes through the layers of disposal of solid wastes, it may “leach” pollutants from them, moving them deeper into the soil.


  • sanitary landfill;
  • leachates;
  • generation;
  • quality characteristics