Landfilling for Biosolids Management

Biosolids are dangerous in a landfill -- but there is no danger on agricultural land or lawns?????
EPA's 2006, Biosolids Technology Fact Sheet, Use of Landfilling for Biosolids Management, states "There are
several potential environmental impacts associated with landfilling of wastewater biosolids. Leachate from the landfill
may transport nitrate, metals, organics, and/or pathogens to groundwater if the landfill site has not been properly
selected or if the liner has been damaged."

Landfilling is generally considered for wastewater biosolids management when land application or other beneficial reuse
is not possible. Typical scenarios that lead to selection of landfill disposal rather than beneficial reuse include:
  • Land acquisition constraints;   
  • High concentration of metals   or other toxins in the biosolids; or
[note: high concentrations of metals are prohibited under the landfill section of 503.23]
Note: toxins are not mentioned in Part 503]
  • Odorous material that may create a public nuisance if managed through other options

• Landfilling biosolids eliminates their reuse potential and is contrary to the EPA national beneficial reuse policy.
[note: which is based on exclusions in the National Policys of the United State].

• Landfilling requires extensive planning, including selection of a proposed landfill site, and operation, closure, and post
closure care of the site.

• Operation, maintenance, and post closure care of landfills are labor intensive.

• Landfill sites have a potential for groundwater contamination from leachate.

• Decomposition of biosolids in a landfill produces methane gas which must be
collected and reused or disposed of by flaring or venting. Energy can be recovered.