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The University of Southampton

Research project: Attenuation of contaminants in landfill liners

Currently Active:

Including the effect of nanoparticles on the migration of leachate contaminants through liners


Landfill leachates contain a wide range of toxic organic contaminants, including a number of Listed substances which must be prevented from reaching groundwater. The Landfill Regulations require that new landfills are designed with low permeability liner systems, comprising engineered clay layers or a composite of synthetic geomembranes and clay soils, and are located in areas underlain by low permeability geological formations. In addition to reducing the flow of leachate from the landfill, natural and engineered clays must reduce the concentration of contaminants reaching groundwater by natural attenuation processes such as sorption and biodegradation.


The aims of our research are to increase understanding of the role and mechanisms of both dissolved phase and solid phase organic carbon in sorption/desorption of hydrophobic organic contaminants in landfill liner clays, to evaluate the impact of mobile sorbent nanoparticles on toxic metal transport in landfills and contaminated land, and provide more reliable data and improved models for regulatory risk assessment of landfills.

Associated research themes

Transport of toxic metals in clay landfill linings

Related research groups

Waste Management
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