19 May 2022

Onsite landfill wastewater treatment technology cuts operating costs by nearly half

LAT Water’s 10m3/day thermal treatment tower at Viridor’s Broadpath landfill site in Devon


Low Temperature Ambient pressure technology (LAT) is a thermal treatment and separation process for onsite landfill wastewater (leachate). Now commercially available for local councils and landfill operators, it has demonstrated a 48% reduction in operating costs and a 70% reduction in energy usage at Viridor’s Broadpath landfill site in Devon.

Viridor manages leachate at over 30 landfill facilities across the UK. Existing global leachate treatment technologies comprise Reverse Osmosis – membranes that cannot effectively operate beyond moderate water recovery levels (little beyond 50%); or Thermal Boiling that uses boiling water and pressure vessels to treat leachate.

To date, most research in the field has focused on incremental improvements in base technologies rather than seeking a step change in the treatment of leachate, both in landfill and across other water-intensive processes.

As its key energy source, LAT uses low-grade onsite waste heat which would otherwise be discharged into the environment, or renewable energy. The process also returns up to 90% of water to be reused and/or recycled onsite. Product concentrate can be treated within existing discharge consents, without the need for the costly addition of new permits.

Local communities also benefit from better air quality due to the reduction of diesel-fuelled road tankers currently used by many operators to truck raw landfill wastewater to remote offsite treatment facilities.

“We’ve been running the pilot at a 10m3/day demonstration trial for six months at Viridor’s Broadpath landfill site in Devon and the results speak for themselves,” said Mark Hardiman, CEO of LAT Water. “We have also been operating a 120m3/day LAT in China for the past 18 months, so we know that LAT is scalable. We’re now making LAT available to all landfill operators and local councils across the UK on a lease basis, which reduces the CAPEX hurdle and shortens the ROI.”

LAT Water Limited is a British technology company set up to develop and implement new approaches to renewable energy powered desalination, water and wastewater treatment. The company has received five increasingly large awards totalling nearly two million pounds for innovative technology development from the UK Government.

The pilot has been partly funded by the department of Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), as part of its Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator (IEEA). The programme is managed by The Carbon Trust with supports from Jacobs and it provides funding for energy efficiency process technologies, alongside incubation and commercialisation support.

“The future of the landfill industry depends on managing the legacy issues of the site,” commented Tim Rotheray, Innovation Director of Viridor. “More than 50% of the costs for us related to the disposal of the leachate. By reducing these costs and recovering the resources from the leachate, we take an important step towards a circular economy.”