Date of Award
Master of Science
Geological and Environmental Sciences
Dr. Alan E. Kehew
Dr. William Sauck
Dr. Duane Hampton
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.
Steeves, Eric G., "The Geochemistry of a Leaf Composting Leachate Plume, Asylum Lake, Kalamazoo, Michigan" (2001). Masters Theses. 4781.