Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Geological and Environmental Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Alan E. Kehew

Second Advisor

Dr. William Sauck

Third Advisor

Dr. Duane Hampton

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Since the implementation of legislation that bans yard waste from landfills, there has been a need to characterize the impact that large scale composting has on groundwater quality. Allen (1993) and Weaver (1995) have attempted to characterize a leaf composting leachate plume located at the WMU-Asylum Lake Well Field #2 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Allen was not able to base any conclusions on geochemical results and Weaver delineated the plume using fewer monitoring wells than are now available.

The data from twenty-one monitoring wells indicates that local groundwater is being impacted by the large-scale composting operation. The plume is characterized by increased levels of calcium, magnesium, iron, bicarbonate, sodium, chloride, sulfate, conductivity, and hydrogen, while oxygen decreased. Microbes have utilized leached organic matter to reduce oxygen, which produces carbon dioxide and drives carbonate mineral dissolution and pH buffering. Plume flow analysis indicates that the highly impacted area has moved away from the source, probably due to decreasing decomposition rates within the leaf composting windrows.

Included in

Geology Commons