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Feb 24 2017

Dr. Rao Y. Surampalli

February 24, 2017

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM


1047 ERF


Chicago, IL 60607

A bioreactor landfill operates to rapidly transform and degrade organic waste. The increase in municipal solid waste (MSW) degradation and stabilization is accomplished through the addition of liquid and air to enhance microbial processes. This is accomplished by maintaining optimal moisture conditions at or near field capacity, approximately 34 to 65 percent. Moisture content is the single most important factor that promotes the accelerated decomposition. The moisture content, combined with the biological action of naturally occurring microbes decomposes the waste. At a minimum, leachate is injected into the landfill to stimulate naturally occurring microorganisms that can be either aerobic or anaerobic. However, bioreactor landfills often need other liquids such as stormwater, wastewater, and wastewater treatment plant sludges to supplement leachate for maintenance of optimal moisture levels. Liquids are added to the landfill through vertical wells, horizontal pipes, or trenches. The primary purpose of a bioreactor landfill is to accelerate decomposition of the organic fraction of the MSW to less than ten years, rather than 30 or more years in dry landfill. Because decomposition and biological stabilization of the waste in a bioreactor landfill occurs in a much shorter time period than in a dry landfill, the potential advantages of the bioreactor landfill can include: Reduced leachate disposal costs; Increased waste decomposition and settlement that results in gain in landfill space due to an increase in density of waste mass; and finally significant increase in methane production due to accelerated decomposition.

Dr. Rao Y. Surampalli received M.S and Ph.D degrees in Environmental Engineering from Oklahoma State and Iowa State Universities, respectively. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in the branches of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and also a Board Certified Environmental Engineer (BCEE) of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers (AAEE). He has worked for private sector for 7 years and worked with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for 29 years and retired as an Engineer Director. Currently, he is President and CEO of Global Institute for Energy, Environment and Sustainability. He has conducted research on fifty (50) environmental engineering topics; including on bioconversion of wastes to value added products (e.g., biodiesel, bioplastics, biopesticides, and bioflocculants); occurrence, fate/transport and removal of emerging contaminants (e.g., pharmaceuticals, antibiotics, and endocrine disrupting chemicals) in the environment; water and wastewater treatment; wastewater reuse and resource recovery; solid and hazardous waste management; environmental toxicity and risk of nanomaterials; bioremediation of contaminated sites and groundwater; carbon sequestration; and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Dr. Surampalli is Distinguished Visiting/Honorary Professor in 5 universities. He has authored more than 700 technical publications, including 14 patents, 18 books, 121 refereed book chapters, 315 refereed archival journal articles, submitted over 109 gene bank submissions, presented at more than 234 national and international conferences, and given over 122 plenary, keynote or invited presentations worldwide. In addition, he has received over 30 national awards and honors, including election as a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.


UIC Civil and Materials Engineering

Date posted

Jun 14, 2019

Date updated

Jun 14, 2019