U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division

Bioreactor Landfills


Demonstration Projects

Adobe PDF LogoBioreactor Performance
U.S. EPA, Office of Solid Waste, Municipal and Industrial Solid Waste Management Division.
EPA 530-R-07-007, 28 pp, 2007

A review of the literature and evaluation of 5 selected full-scale operating bioreactor landfills shows that these types of landfills can comply with existing Part 258 solid waste regulations and technical guidance. The 5 sites are Crow Wing County Landfill, MN; Williamson County Landfill, TN; Burlington County Landfill, NJ; New River Regional Landfill, FL; and Salem County Landfill, NJ.

Buncombe County Landfill, Alexander, Buncombe County, North Carolina

Buncombe County has been researching a new method for operating sanitary landfills: leachate recirculation and gas collection. The County describes five components in the proposal: 1) combined leachate recirculation and gas collection; 2) horizontal trenches; 3) pressure injection system; 4) active gas collection; and, 5) alternative liner system. Buncombe County proposes that this pilot will generate results that could be transferable to other facilities. Additional information

Florida Bioreactor Landfill Demonstration Project
Hinkley Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management, et al. 10 Volumes + Appendices, 2008

FDEP selected the New River Regional Landfill in Union County as the site for the Florida Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management to conduct the full-scale landfill bioreactor demonstration project and compare both aerobic and anaerobic waste decomposition processes. Construction began in 2001 with the installation of 134 vertical wells, moisture addition was initiated in 2003, and air injection started in 2004. Cell 1 and Cell 2 operated as bioreactors until February 2008.

Adobe PDF LogoJoint Technical Document, MSW Landfill B-19, Kettleman Hills Facility, Kings County, California
California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), Vol 1, 122 pp, 2016

This document describes the design and operation of the Landfill B-19 Bioreactor portion of the Kettleman Hills facility and reflects its decommissioning. The anaerobic bioreactor operated within an 18.23-acre portion of B-19 and accepted liquid waste from 2008 to 2014. Nearly 4 million gal of non-hazardous liquid waste was placed in the B-19 bioreactor with no substantial change in leachate generation. The Class II/III waste footprint comprises (1) a bioreactor unit, to which liquids and high liquid content wastes were added as a beneficial use to enhance waste decomposition, and (2) a control unit to which liquids and high liquid content wastes are not added. The Landfill B19 Bioreactor Research Demonstration and Development (RD&D) Project ended September 15, 2014. Landfill B-19 is permitted to operate as a Class II/III Landfill, but select monitoring and reporting activities for the Landfill B19 Bioreactor RD&D Project will be discontinued.

Landfill Bioreactor Performance: Second Interim Report, Outer Loop Recycling & Disposal Facility, Louisville, Kentucky
U.S. EPA, National Risk Management Research Laboratory. EPA 600-R-07-060, 240 pp, 2006

Evaluates 3 types of landfill cells: (1) a control cell, to which no liquids were added; (2) a cell to which liquids were added after the cell had been completely filled with waste (i.e., the retrofit cell); and (3) a cell in which liquids and air were added as the waste was placed in the landfill (i.e., the as-built cell).

Landfills as Bioreactors: Research at the Outer Loop Landfill, Louisville, Kentucky. First Interim Report
G. Hater, R. Green, G. Vogt, W. Davis-Hoover, D. Carson, S. Thorneloe, and F. Kremer.
EPA 600-R-03-097, 406 pp, 2003
Contact: David Carson,

U.S. EPA's National Risk Management Research Laboratory and Waste Management Inc. are engaged in a multi-year field demonstration of two techniques of landfill bioreactor construction and operation, one a new landfill designed as a bioreactor and the other a retrofitted existing landfill.

Maplewood Landfill and King George County Landfills, Virginia

Waste Management of Virginia, Inc., proposes to implement two slightly different waste treatment systems. Waste Management plans to recirculate leachate at Maplewood Recycling and Waste Disposal Facility (Maplewood Landfill), and implement bioreactor operations at the King George County Landfill and Recycling Facility (King George County Landfill.)

Measurement of Fugitive Emissions at a Bioreactor Landfill
M. Modrak, R. Hashmonay, R. Varma, and R. Kagann.
EPA 600-R-05-096, 122 pp, 2005

In three 2002-2003 field campaigns, an open-path Fourier transform infrared (OP-FTIR) spectrometer was used to measure fugitive emissions at a bioreactor landfill in Louisville, KY. This report presents the results.

Measurement of Fugitive Emissions at a Landfill Practicing Leachate Recirculation and Air Injection
M. Modrak, R.A. Hashmonay, R. Varma, and R. Kagann, ARCADIS Geraghty and Miller, Inc., Durham, NC.
EPA 600-R-05-088, 51 pp, 2005

In a a fugitive emissions characterization study at the Three Rivers Solid Waste Technology Center Landfill located near Jackson, SC, the investigators evaluated emissions of methane and hazardous air pollutants at the site using scanning open-path Fourier transform infrared spectrometers and open-path tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy. Horizontal radial plume mapping was used to map surface methane concentrations, and vertical radial plume mapping was used to measure emissions fluxes downwind of the site.

Bioreactor Landfill Research and Demonstration Project, Northern Oaks Landfill, Harrison, MI
Zhao, X., T. Voice, and S.A. Hashsham.
Environmental Research and Education Foundation, DOE/GO/11096, 63 pp, 2006

A bioreactor landfill cell with 1.2-acre footprint was constructed, filled, operated, and monitored at Northern Oaks Recycling and Disposal Facility at Harrison, MI. With a filled volume of 74,239 cubic yards, the cell contained ~35,317 tons of municipal solid waste and 20,777 tons of cover soil. It was laid on the slope of an existing cell but separated by a geosynthetic membrane liner. After the cell reached a design height of 60 ft, it was covered with a geosynthetic membrane cap. A 3-D monitoring system to collect data at 48 different locations was designed and installed during the construction phase of the bioreactor cell. An increase in moisture content of the MSW in the bioreactor cell was achieved by pumping leachate collected on-site from various other cells, as well as recirculation of leachate from the bioreactor landfill cell itself. Results of this demonstration project showed that besides moisture, temperature may be the next important factor controlling biological decomposition in anaerobic bioreactor landfills.

Adobe PDF LogoWilliamson County Aerated Bioreactor Landfill: Operations and Performance
EPA Workshop on Bioreactor Landfills, 27-28 February, 38 slides, 2003

The Williamson County aerated bioreactor is a retrofit system into an existing waste cell. The system consists of an array of over 150 vertical wells placed into the mass to facilitate the injection of compressed air, leachate (and/or make-up water from a near-by storm water collection pond), and other amendments, such as nutrients, if needed.

Yolo County Bioreactor Landfill, California

Yolo County proposes to operate its next 12-acre landfill module near Davis, California, as a controlled bioreactor landfill.

Adobe PDF LogoFull Scale Bioreactor Landfill for Carbon Sequestration and Greenhouse Emission Control. Final Report
R. Yazdani, J. Kieffer, K. Sananikone, and D. Augenstein.
Yolo County, Planning and Public Works Department, Woodland, CA. 178 pp, 2006

The first phase of this project entailed the construction of a 12-acre module that contained a 6-acre anaerobic cell, a 3.5-acre anaerobic cell, and a 2.5-acre aerobic cell at the Yolo County Central Landfill near Davis, CA. The cells were highly instrumented to monitor bioreactor performance. Liquid addition commenced in the 3.5-acre anaerobic cell and the 6-acre anaerobic cell. Construction of the 2.5-acre aerobic cell and biofilter has been completed. The project status as of 2006 and preliminary monitoring results are summarized.

Adobe PDF LogoT2LBM Version 1.0: Landfill Bioreactor Model for TOUGH2
Oldenburg, Curtis M., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Univ. of California, Berkeley.
Report No: LBNL-47961, 60 pp, Nov 2001

The need to control gas and leachate production and minimize refuse volume in landfills has motivated the development of landfill simulation models that can be used by operators to predict and design optimal treatment processes. T2LBM is a module for the TOUGH2 simulator that implements a Landfill Bioreactor Model to provide simulation capability for the processes of aerobic or anaerobic biodegradation of municipal solid waste and the associated flow and transport of gas and liquid through the refuse mass.