Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Nicole Berge


Treatment of leachate from municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills can be complex and difficult, due to the variety of contaminants present. The purpose of this work was to evaluate the fate of nitrogen and effectiveness of leachate evaporation in a leachate storage and collection pond at the Three Rivers Solid Waste Authority (TRSWA) MSW landfill in Jackson, South Carolina. This was accomplished by determining the fate of nitrogen species in the pond, exploring effect of the site’s Lilypad droplet sprayer system on ammonia-nitrogen, and exploring potential to reduce overall quantity of leachate to be treated through evaporation from the pond.

Leachate evaporation was determined via two methods: a water balance of the pond and a model developed to account for site climatological and operational parameters, including the site’s use of a droplet sprayer system to enhance evaporation from the pond. Results from the evaporation study suggest that the droplet sprayer system resulted in 2.5 to 3.2 times more evaporation than would occur naturally, and further enhancement could be possible through modifications to the system’s operation, such as increasing the nighttime basket capacity above the current 26%. Increasing nighttime capacity to 50% of maximum speed and flow is expected to increase the total evaporation by 23%.

The fate of nitrogen species in the pond was also explored, and a model was developed and used to determine amounts of volatilization, nitrification, and denitrification occurring in the pond. Overall, results indicate that nitrogen transformation was occurring iv in the pond. The model indicated that volatilization was the predominant process by which nitrogen was transformed, but that nitrification and denitrification were also occurring in the pond during much of the study. The use of the droplet sprayer system resulted in increased volatilization, depending on the amount of liquid passing through the system each day. During the study, approximately 36% of volatilization was due to the Lilypad system. Increasing the volume of liquid that passes through the system would be expected to increase volatilization. A study on the relationship between pH, temperature, and volatilization was also undertaken and indicated that increasing the pH of the leachate collection and storage pond would result in increased levels of ammonia-nitrogen volatilization, but that adjustment would be most efficient if done in the warmer months.