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VSEP Case Study – Cerro Patacon, Panama

Written on February 3, 2015

Cerro Patacon is the only official solid waste landfill for Panama City’s garbage.  The site was storing the leachate in three large ponds, but this solution is not permanent, with an increasing population and pollution laws becoming stricter.

The owners of Cerro Patacon implemented a full-scale VSEP system which uses two of the large 84″ VSEP modules.  The discharge was to be released into the river as well as being used as industrial water, so it was required to be cycled through twice.   The discharged filtrate needed to contain TDS less than 1500 mg/L and chemical oxygen demand less than 250 mg/L.

The ponds are downhill from the landfill and therefore use gravity to flow the leachate from the storage place to storage place instead of pumps.  The VSEP was set up after the second pond as the third pond was treated and is now to be used as a treated water collection pond for leachate from the other two ponds.

Leachate flows to the VSEP RO modules before the permeate passes through the spiral RO system and is finally deposited into pond 3 where it is to be used for industrial purposes or discharged into the stream.

VSEP filtration is able to remove up to 95% of the TDS and heavy metals, it also is able to remove all bacteria and faecal matter.  An additional benefit from using VSEP is that it can extend the life of a landfill and becomes less expensive and intrusive to the environment than having to construct another landfill.

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