Date of Award


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Paper Science and Engineering


The objective of this project is to determine if organics in pulp and paper industry leachates can undergo anaerobic degradation in soil. If the leachate does degrade, it could reduce the potential for groundwater pollution. Attenuation, the decrease in the concentration of contaminants, can be affected by different soil parameters like biological activity, particle size and pore spaces. Also, temperature can affect the rate of degradation.

Not only does this study want to show the presence of degradation, but also the effects of adsorption with different soils.

The results of pH, ORP, and COD tests show that degradation occurred at warm temperatures in the leachate by itself and in a sample of leachate with clay. But no degradation occurred in the sand with leachate. The cooler temperature samples showed little degradation but they did show a slow trend toward degradation as would be expected with a low temperature.

The warm leachate samples that showed degradation reached an intermediate step in the methanogenic degradation process. In this step, acetic and propinoic acid are produced. All results point to methane production except the ORP values are too high.

In further investigations, Ball canning jars would make better reactors because the lids would stay tight. Also, the reactors should be run longer to determine what would eventually happen in the cool temperature. A higher soil to liquid ratio should be used and the leachate and soil should be added to the cool temperature reactors in a cool atmosphere to reduce gas compression.