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VSEP Case Study – Santo Domingo, Ecuador

Written on February 3, 2015

The Santo Domingo Landfill caters to the third most populous city in Ecuador and therefore needs to hold a lot of waste.  The climate is humid and rains frequently, which leads to high volumes of leachate.  The current method for containing the leachate is using four large mesh-covered ponds, but is not an effective long term solution as the population increases and rainwater persistently fills up the ponds.

The landfill owners have now decided to use a VSEP system, which they heard of through the success of the larger Quito Landfill site nearby.  They were able to hire a manual VSEP system to use temporarily while waiting for the automatic one to be fabricated.

The system in place uses one 84″ VSEP module and a second stage spiral RO system.  A single cycle through this process provides water clean enough to be discharged into the river system.  Leachate can be extracted from any of the four ponds and using a cascading treatment system allows higher recovery, larger flow rates and less VSEP cleaning.

The process involves pumping water from the subsurface of a chosen a pond, which leads to a small EQ/batch tank that feeds the VSEP system.  Permeate from the VSEP is then collected in another tank for the spiral RO system and the final permeate is then used for the landfill, VSEP cleaning or discharged into the river.

The system in place is able to remove up to 95% of the TDS, 98% of heavy metals and 100% of faecal matter and bacteria.  The purpose of VSEP is to reduce leachate volume to allow for storage for landfill leachate and obtain more use out of the current landfill site. This method reduces costs and environment impact from building additional landfills.

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