TLDR: Landfill leachate is a liquid waste product that forms as water interacts with waste materials in landfills. It contains a mixture of pollutants and must be carefully collected, treated, and managed to prevent environmental contamination and safeguard human health. Stringent regulations and proper leachate management practices are essential to address the challenges associated with landfill leachate. IX Water is working to help treat landfill leachate at a landfill near us!

Landfill leachate is the term for the liquid that is generated when water comes into contact with waste materials in a landfill. It is a complex and potentially hazardous mixture that contains a wide range of contaminants and pollutants; basically, everything ever put in the landfill (yuck!).

Landfill leachate is formed when precipitation, such as rainwater, percolates through the layers of waste within a landfill. As the water infiltrates the garbage, it picks up dissolved and suspended materials, creating a liquid waste stream. The composition of landfill leachate can vary widely depending on the types of waste present, the age of the landfill, and local environmental conditions. Landfills typically contain a mix of organic and inorganic compounds, including heavy metals, organic pollutants, pathogens, and nutrients. And, since landfills contain a variety of household and industrial waste product, they also contain PFAS compounds, so-called “forever chemicals.”

These contaminants pose environmental and public health risks.

Landfill operators implement collection systems to capture leachate and prevent it from contaminating surrounding soil and groundwater. These systems often consist of impermeable liners, drainage pipes, and leachate collection tanks.

Collected leachate is then typically treated to remove or reduce contaminants before discharge or proper disposal. If not properly managed, landfill leachate can pose significant environmental threats. From contaminated landfill soil, rainwater will leach contaminants and contaminate surface water, and groundwater leaving the landfill site. Toxic substances in leachate may harm aquatic ecosystems and potentially impact human health if drinking water sources become contaminated. Many countries have strict regulations governing landfill leachate management and disposal to protect the environment and public health. These regulations often set limits on the concentrations of specific contaminants and require monitoring and reporting by landfill operators. In Colorado CDPHE (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment) regulates landfill leachate.

Landfill leachate treatment is a crucial step in mitigating its environmental impact.



IX Water Is working with local operators and regulators to treat landfill leachate efficiently, effectively, and affordably for the community. The world needs water, and we are working to make more of it clean in our community!