Subcritical water treatment of landfill leachate: Application of response surface methodology

P. Kirmizakis, C. Tsamoutsoglou, B. Kayan, D. Kalderis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Context: Leachate is the liquid formed when waste breaks down in the landfill and water filters through that waste. This liquid is highly toxic and can pollute the land, ground water and water ways. It is mandatory for landfills to protect against leachate in most countries worldwide. Controlling the pollutant loading, means reducing its quantity by containing or treating the waste to comply with certain discharge characteristics which are compatible with the receptor medium. Objective: This paper describes the reduction of the organic load of a mature landfill leachate using a novel experimental set-up that employs hydrogen peroxide under subcritical conditions and aims to establish this method as an effective alternative to currently used options. Response surface methodology was applied to optimize the treatment process and determine which of the following there parameters - temperature, residence time and hydrogen peroxide concentration - played the most important role. Method: The method employed is based on the use of laboratory-scale, stainless steel reactors, filled with the leachate and appropriate quantities of hydrogen peroxide. Under subcritical conditions (temperature in the range of 100-374°C and enough pressure to maintain the liquid state of water), hydrogen peroxide produces hydroxyl radicals which are highly reactive and oxidize the organic molecules of the leachate. Results: The highest COD decrease of 85% was experimentally observed at 300°C, 500mM H2O2 and 180min residence time. It was determined that the combination of oxidant concentration and temperature is the rate-determining factor, whereas residence time has a lesser effect on the process. Conclusions: A simple, quick, effective and environmentally-friendly method for the treatment of the organic load of landfill leachate was developed and optimized at laboratory scale. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Early online date23 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2014


  • Central composite design
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Landfill leachate
  • Response surface methodology
  • Subcritical water
  • Superheated water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Medicine(all)


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