Aluminum reactions and problems in municipal solid waste landfills

G. Vincent Calder, Timothy D. Stark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aluminum enters municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills from untreated raw curbside trash (MSW), industrial waste, and aluminum production wastes variously called dross, baghouse fines, salt cake, and other designations. Aluminum related reactions can arise and become problematic for landfill operations by generating undesirable heat, liquid leachate, and gases, such as hydrogen, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, and ammonia. Temperature excursions up to ∼150°C(300°F) and landfill gas pressures exceeding 210 kPa have been observed. Water from the MSW, precipitation, injection, and/or surface water management can result in sufficient water to trigger problematic aluminum related reactions. Another source of water in a MSW landfill is leachate recirculation, which is not recommended if substantial aluminum is present in the landfill mass because it can lead to a problematic aluminum related reaction. This paper examines the chemical reactions involving aluminum in landfills and the negative consequences of introducing aluminum into MSW landfills regardless of its origin. Proposals for mitigating aluminum reactions are also presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-265
Number of pages8
JournalPractice Periodical of Hazardous, Toxic, and Radioactive Waste Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 15 2010


  • Aluminum
  • Chemical reaction
  • Leachate recirculation
  • Leachate stability
  • Solid waste
  • Waste disposal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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