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Title: Field investigation of the quality of fresh and aged leachates from selected landfills receiving e-waste in an arid climate

Highlights: • E-waste comprises approximately 6% of the waste mass going to landfill in South Australia. • Significant amounts of metal(loids)s and PBDEs are released from e-waste mixed with municipal solid in landfill leachates. • Significantly elevated concentrations of lead and PBDEs are detected in groundwater wells downgradient of landfills. • Significant temporal variation exists in electrical conductivity and in the concentrations of As, Cd and Pb in leachates. - Abstract: The management of electronic waste (e-waste) is a serious problem worldwide and much of it is landfilled. A survey of four selected landfills in an arid region of South Australia was conducted to determine the proportion of e-waste in municipal waste and the properties of each landfill site. Leachate and groundwater samples were collected upgradient and downgradient of the landfills for analysis of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and 14 metals and metalloids, including Al, As, Ba, Be, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni, Pb, Sb, V and Zn. Our data demonstrate that the selected landfills in South Australia continue to receive municipal waste containing in excess of 6%, or 25,000 tonnes per year, of e-waste. The leachates and groundwater collected from the landfills contained significantly elevated concentrations of Pbmore » with the highest concentration in groundwater of 38 μg/l, almost four times higher than the Australian drinking water guideline of 10 μg/l. The presence of PBDEs was detected in both leachate and groundwater samples. Total PBDEs values of 2.13–59.75 ng/l in leachate samples were 10 times higher than in groundwater samples, which recorded a range of 0.41–6.53 ng/l at all sites. Moreover, the concentrations of metals and metalloids in sampled groundwater contained elevated levels of Al, As, Fe, Ni and Pb that exceeded Australian drinking water guideline values. For these reasons potential leaching of these contaminants is of concern and while difficult to attribute elevated contaminant levels to e-waste, we do not recommend continued disposal of e-waste in old landfills that were not originally designed to contain leachates. The survey also revealed temporal variation in the electrical conductivity and concentrations of As, Cd and Pb present in leachates of landfills in arid Mediterranean climates. These results are consistent with the marked variations in rainfall patterns observed for such climates. The solute concentration (EC and other ions including As, Cd and Pb) declines in the leachates during wet winter months (June to September), in contrast to tropical countries where such changes are observed during wet summer months.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ; ;  [4]
  1. Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment and Remediation, University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes Campus, Adelaide 5095 (Australia)
  2. (Australia)
  3. Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences, Department of Biology, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong (China)
  4. National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology, The University of Queensland (Australia)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22436827
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Waste Management; Journal Volume: 34; Journal Issue: 11; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2014 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; CLIMATES; CONCENTRATION RATIO; DRINKING WATER; GROUND WATER; HEAVY METALS; LEACHATES; LEACHING; MUNICIPAL WASTES; PHENYL ETHER; SANITARY LANDFILLS; SEMIMETALS; SOLID WASTES; SOUTH AUSTRALIA