Soon, a leachate treatment plant in Dadumajra of Chandigarh

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In May, hundreds of families living near the Dadumajra landfill can expect major relief from the persistent problem of leachate leaking from the landfill.

The planned leachate treatment plant at the new Dadumajra sanitary landfill site (SLS) is expected to be operational in two months, before the monsoon.

“While the plant is designed to treat leachate generated at SLS, we will also use it to treat leachate at the landfill site. The plant has a processing capacity of 30 kiloliters of leachate per day,” said an MC manager.

The SLS site adjoins the Dadumajra landfill and the waste treatment plant.

Leachate is similar to wastewater but has a much higher BOD (biochemical oxygen demand). Unlike wastewater, which has a BOD of 200-300 mg per litre, typical leachate is highly toxic with a BOD of over 2,000.

The leachate problem is acute around the landfill site, especially in the middle of the monsoon. Dyal Krishan, Chairman of Dadumajra Landfill Joint Action Committee, said, “The leachate is polluting the groundwater, leading to many illnesses among the people.”

“During the rains, it seeps through the perimeter walls of the landfill and sometimes the pressure is such that it penetrates the tiles and houses adjacent to the roads. This makes the roads slippery, leading to accidents. This is nothing short of a nightmare and for a long time people have been on their own,” said Dadumajra resident Manoj Kumar.

While Chandigarh’s daily solid waste generation is around 550-600 million tonnes (MT), most of it is dumped at landfill without treatment. Consequently, around 9.5 lakh MT of legacy waste remains piled up in the 25-acre Dadumajra landfill.

“Overtime leachate is produced at the landfill site. It cannot be treated in an ordinary sewage treatment plant due to the risk of damage. Thus, a leachate plant is needed and after treatment, it can be passed to the city’s regular sewage treatment system,” the MC official said.

Of the total waste inherited from the landfill, 5 lakh MT dates from before 2005 and is being bio-mined as part of a Smart City project. About 3 lakh MT have been cleared since December 2019, while the rest will be cleared by December this year.

the The 77 crore second phase under the Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0 will target the remaining 7.5 lakh MT of legacy waste dumped at the Dadumajra site after 2005.

Officials said that after the start of the second phase of legacy mining works at the landfill site, the leachate will be significantly reduced.

What is leachate

Similar to sewage, leachate is the liquid formed when waste decomposes in the landfill and water seeps into it. As it drains from the landfill site, it can pollute land and groundwater, increasing the risk of waterborne diseases. Due to its higher toxicity, it cannot be treated in an ordinary sewage treatment plant due to the possibility of damage.

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