Aluminum waste reaction indicators in a municipal solid waste landfill

Timothy D. Stark, Jeffrey W. Martin, Gina T. Gerbasi, Todd Thalhamer, R. Edwin Gortner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Subtitle D landfills may contain aluminum from residential and commercial solid waste, industrial waste, and aluminum production wastes. Some aluminum-bearing waste materials, particularly aluminum production wastes, may react with liquid in a landfill and cause uncontrolled temperature increases, significant changes in gas composition and pressure, nuisance odors, and changes in leachate composition and quantity. Such reactions may also cause degradation of leachate quality (e.g., increased ammonia, sodium, potassium, chloride, and TDS concentrations), combustion of the surrounding waste, damage to engineered components (gas collection systems, leachate collection systems, and liner system materials), and slope instability. Temperatures exceeding 150°C (300°F), generation and accumulation of undesirable explosive and toxic gases (e.g., hydrogen, acetylene, ammonia, carbon monoxide, and benzene), and gas pressures exceeding 210 kPa (30.5 psi) have been observed. Water from leachate recirculation, precipitation, the waste, or groundwater infiltration can initiate the exothermic reaction if aluminum production wastes are present. This paper uses a case history to illustrate some indicators of an aluminum reaction and problems that can develop from such a reaction in a Subtitle D landfill.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-261
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 30 2012


  • Aluminum
  • Exothermic chemical reaction
  • Leachate
  • Leachate recirculation
  • MSW
  • Solid waste
  • Stability
  • Subsurface fire
  • Waste disposal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Environmental Science(all)


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