Nanofiltration of a Landfill Leachate Containing Pharmaceutical Intermediates from Vitamin C Production

Tvrtko Ahel1, Ivan Mijatović1, Marin Matošić1 and Marijan Ahel2*

Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, Pierottijeva 6, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia

2Center for Marine and Environmental Research, Ruđer Bošković Institute, Bijenička 54, HR-10002, Zagreb, Croatia

Article history:

Received December 15, 2003
Accepted April 15, 2004

Key words:

nanofiltration, landfill leachate, organic matter, pharmaceutical chemicals


The main landfill of the city of Zagreb generates several hundreds of cubic meters of heavily contaminated leachate per day. The organic composition of the leachate is particularly peculiar because, besides common macromolecular humus-like dissolved organic carbon, it encompasses a number of specific compounds of pharmaceutical origin, including a suite of by-products deriving from the production of vitamin C. Since both macromolecular humic organic matter and vitamin C intermediates are rather resistant to microbial degradation, leachate treatment procedures using simple retention lagoons or conventional bioreactors are not very effective in reducing their levels before the discharge into the receiving waters. An attractive alternative is the application of membrane technology. The efficiencies of three different types of nanofilters for the purification of leachates from the Jakuševec landfill were examined. It was shown that both complex humic-like dissolved organic matter and anthropogenic compounds of pharmaceutical origin can be eliminated at high efficiencies, mostly above 90 %.

*Corresponding author:           This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
                                               ++385 1 45 61 042
                                               ++385 1 46 80 242