Environmental, human health, and economic implications of landfill leachate treatment for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance removal.

Academic Article


  • Landfill leachate is commonly treated offsite with municipal wastewater. This offsite leachate treatment may be limited or no longer applicable due to the increasingly stringent regulations and concerns related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) discharge into the environment, resulting in development of full-scale, onsite leachate treatment facilities. To help landfills prepare for the potential shift from offsite to onsite leachate treatment for PFAS compliance, this study analyzed and compared the environmental, human health, and economic performances of a typical onsite and a typical offsite leachate treatment alternative through life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle cost assessment (LCCA) using a landfill site located in Zhuzhou, China as a testbed. Two distinct functional units (FUs) were investigated: 1 m3 of leachate treated and 1 g of PFAS removed. Our results show that the onsite scenario offered benefits from human health and economic perspectives, while the offsite scenario generally performed better from the environmental perspective when a leachate PFAS concentration of 150,704 ng/L was assumed. The extent of this tradeoff varied when different functional units were adopted. The onsite scenario will not be competitive from all three perspectives when PFAS concentration in the raw leachate is less than 1666 ng/L.
  • Authors

  • Feng, Danyi
  • Song, Cuihong
  • Mo, Weiwei
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • July 1, 2021
  • Published In


  • China
  • Human health impacts
  • Humans
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Life cycle cost assessment
  • Offsite leachate treatment in wastewater treatment plants
  • Onsite leachate treatment
  • Refuse Disposal
  • Waste Disposal Facilities
  • Wastewater
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) removal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 33857713
  • Start Page

  • 112558
  • Volume

  • 289