€6m Savings Following Remediation and Membrane Bioreactor Installation

CASE STUDY: Austria’s Riederberg Landfill Cuts Operation Costs by 50%

The Riederberg landfill in Austria has cut its operation costs by 50%, saving €6 million during the remediation period by investing in a state-of-the-art high-performance WEHRLE BIOMEMBRAT® Membrane Bioreactor.

Image © WEHRLE

The Riederberg landfill in Austria has cut its operation costs by 50%, saving €6 million during the remediation period by investing in a state-of-the-art high-performance WEHRLE BIOMEMBRAT® Membrane Bioreactor.

The quality and quantity of landfill leachate depends on factors including climate, waste composition, landfill age and type of landfill operation, e.g. if waste is being pre-treated by a Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) plant. These factors are often difficult to predict, which is why leachate treatment is often excluded from the original landfill planning.

This, of course, neglects the fact that the treatment of leachate is required and over-all quite costly. Often this cost factor becomes dominant, especially after a landfill is closed and goes into the after-care period of at least 30 years.

A landfill operator can save an enormous amount of money by investing into a modern and flexible treatment plant that unloads the landfill by eliminating the organic pollution in the leachate. For the elimination of COD, BOD and ammonia, biological processes have been proven to be the best and most economic method.

An example is the Riederberg landfill in Austria that, according to an article in the local papers ‘Tiroler Tageszeitung’ has cut its operation costs by 50%, saving €6 million by investing in a state-of-the-art high-performance plus Membrane Bioreactor (MBR).

Depending on the discharge limits, this technology can be installed with additional separation processes, such as Nanofiltration or Reverse Osmosis. The disadvantage of separation technologies is the fact that they produce a concentrate that needs to be disposed of – unless this concentrate is treated with, for example, activated carbon, as they do so in the Riederberg plant.

Using separation technologies alone, i.e. without biological pre-treatment, has not proven to be economic over a mid/long term period since the concentrate if returned to the landfill increases the treatment costs and increases the leachate pollution over time to a level that is very difficult and expensive to treat later.

Naturally, it is not only the technology that decides on landfill operation costs and economics. Good advice from experts that have experience with waste treatment technologies and landfills, as well as in different climate zones and different waste characteristics is important.

Good advice saves invest and operation costs, reduces operational and environmental risks and assures an economic landfill life cycle with sustainable and future-prove treatment of leachate and MBT effluents.