Modeling Migration of Leachate and Contaminants from Landfill Sites

Solid waste is disposed of in tens of thousands of municipal and industrial landfills throughout the world. Residential and industrial chemicals that should be disposed of in hazardous waste landfills sometimes end up in municipal landfills. In addition, the disposal of many household wastes is not regulated. Once in the landfill, chemicals can leach into the ground water by means of precipitation and surface runoff. In recent years, regulations and technology have improved to limit the amount of leachate seeping out from a landfill site. So-called sanitary landfill sites use clay or synthetic liners and leachate collection systems in order to protect groundwater. Most older landfills, however, do not have these safeguards. Older landfills were often sited over aquifers or close to surface waters and in permeable soils with shallow water tables, enhancing the potential for leachate to contaminate ground water. Closed landfills can continue to pose a ground water contamination threat if they are not capped with an impermeable material (such as clay) before closure to prevent contamination In addition, landfill sites in developing countries where there are less stringent requirements, may also pose a higher risk of leachate contamination to the groundwater. (U.S. EPA 2015)


Visual MODFLOW can be used to simulate the fate and transport of various contaminants from landfill sites.  Typically, MODFLOW-2000, 2005, or NWT will be used in conjunction with either MT3DMS or RT3D.

Online References using Visual MODFLOW for Modeling Contaminant Transport at Landfill Sites

Analysis for remedial alternatives of unregulated municipal solid waste landfills leachate-contaminated groundwater
(Published in Frontiers of Earth Science)
Environmental Impact Assessment of Abundant Lead Landfill on Groundwater and Soil Quality
(Published in Seventeenth International Water Technology Conference, IWTC17)
Assessing the effectiveness of landfill restoration and remediation at a closed landfill site UK
Application of Multi-Scale Assessment and Modelling of Landfill Leachate Migration: Implications for Risk-Based Contaminated Land Assessment, Landfill Remediation, and Groundwater Protection Unknown
Prediction of Contamination Migration in an Unconfined Aquifer with Visual MODFLOW: A Case Study

Keywords: Landfill, phosphorus
Published in: World Applied Sciences Journal 14



Note: Waterloo Hydrogeologic does not imply endorsement of software from the authors of these publications/reports.