Removing biological growth in landfill leachate collection pipes is an important maintenance measure to keep the pipes in operable condition. High-pressure jet cleaning of the pipes on a regular schedule is performed in accordance with best practices and regulatory policy. For example, in Florida, solid waste rules require leachate collection pipes to be either jet cleaned every five years or videoed to confirm that the pipes are in operational condition. Of course, if the video shows that cleaning is necessary, the operator performs the maintenance and submits a report to the appropriate agency.
The spent jetting liquids contain a mix of calcite and microorganisms that have been removed from pipe walls and perforations. The liquid mixture flows to the lowest point in the pipe and enters the sump medium, which is typically composed of one to three-inch size rock. A drawback of jet cleaning is that when the pipes are cleaned, the spent jetting liquids enter the sump medium, thereby using essential leachate storage space in the sump. The calcite and microorganisms that were removed from the leachate piping are now present in the sump and will reduce the sump capacity and cause bottlenecks within the perforations in the riser pipe(s). Over time, this buildup will prevent the flow of leachate in the sump into the riser pipe. Without flow into the riser pipe, leachate removal from the sump becomes impossible, causing expensive operations and compliance issues for the landfill operator.
Clogging of the sump medium is a slow process; many sumps do not show indication of the impact of buildup for years. Landfill operators typically don’t use jet cleaning equipment equipped with vacuum features to remove the spent liquids from the pipe during cleaning. SCS recommends that this potential issue is discussed with the cleaning contractor in advance to account for the problems that can occur. For shallow landfills, contractors could provide a vacuum line inserted into the cleanout riser to remove the spent liquids as the pipe is cleaned. For deep landfills, the cleaning contractor can provide a temporary pump inserted inside the riser to remove the spent liquids.
To prevent excessive biological growth, jet cleaning of the riser pipes every time the leachate collection pipes are cleaned will significantly reduce clogging of the riser pipe perforations. Unmaintained riser pipes block leachate from entering the riser, preventing liquid removal and causing compliance issues when found.
Ask the author a question: Dr. Ali Khatama