Landfills Contaminating Groundwater


A landfill is a place where the local administration authorities usually dump their waste. In this place, there are all kinds of waste ranging from biodegradable materials to non-biodegradable types of waste. Therefore, these areas are used with the purpose of the disposal of waste products, which make it a hazardous place because it might cause dangerous calamities such as groundwater contamination and destruction of infrastructure. A landfill might not only be an area for garbage collection, but also a temporary location for stones which may be used for different operations. Therefore, the various effects of landfills on the underground water and the causes of contamination will be discussed in the paper.

Groundwater Contamination

This is a process of altering the naturally properties of the groundwater. It affects the physical and chemical state of water, thermal and biological nature of the groundwater. Therefore, there are many causes of groundwater contamination which include landfills, agriculture and also mining that are the factors that influence the process of pollution.. The landfills are the source of contamination in this case which is mostly caused during the rainy season (Bagchi 34). The matter is that rain penetrates through the garbage or the landfills absorbing all types of contaminants that are ferried by the rain water to the habitat of the groundwater.

This is very common for the landfills to have no liners in them which will hold the rain water, which leads to the water leaking through the landfills and absorbing hazardous chemicals from them that, subsequently, leads to the water contamination. In most cases, the old landfills do not have effective and preventive factors such as the liners to prevent the penetration of the toxic chemicals into the groundwater (Bagchi 45). This leaves the water contaminated with the chemicals that has dangerous effects on its users. The landfills are rich in toxic chemicals such as chemicals from Fluorescent bulbs, batteries and other poisonous materials that are even radioactive and very harmful when they penetrate into the body of a human being.

A landfill incorporates various types of waste. This factor makes it very hard to control the types of wastes that are disposed to the landfill; therefore, the dumpsite is full of many types of dangerous chemicals. The wastes that are in the dumpsite may be agricultural including the pesticide containers, industrial wastes and the biological wastes (Miller 8). All these provide toxic substances and when the landfills are not well protected from the rain, there will obvious be leakages from the dumpsites leading to the contamination of the groundwater. Therefore, the local authorities must ensure there is a proper regulation of the wastes that are disposed to the dumpsites leading to the control of the contamination of the groundwater. This is a factor that should be of great concern for the local and national authorities to avoid calamities that may be the result of the contaminated groundwater (Bagchi 67). Therefore, in order to reduce the contamination of groundwater there, other measures should be employed.

Methods of Reducing Contamination

Contamination is mostly brought about by the increased number of the materials that are dumped in the landfill. The reduction of toxic chemicals that are dumped in the land fill will help reduce the contaminants that leak into the groundwater. Therefore, the local authorities can diversify the dumping areas and educate the large public on the dangers associated with the dumping places and, therefore, improve the disposal methods in their areas (Miller 98). This will help reduce the number of toxic substances that are emitted from the landfills.

The other major factor that will help in the reduction of the contamination of the groundwater is the improvement on the recycling methods. Recycling will help prevent the dangers that are expected to come from the landfills due to some types of waste hat are thrown in the dumping areas. Some of them are recyclable and can be reused again and again; therefore, this can improve the situation of the groundwater contamination. Improvement of the liners that are installed in the landfills will also help in reducing the amount of contamination percentage that is absorbed by the groundwater (Alley 832). This will harbor the amount of rain water that is passing through the landfill reaching the groundwater. For that matter, the landfills will need more of the liners less toxic materials and chemicals will be absorbed to the groundwater. All toxic wastes should be dumped appropriately that they will not cause or emit any toxic chemical to the groundwater.

Types of Contaminants

There are different contaminants that pollute the ground water in various ways. The methyl tertiary butyl ether, which is highly flammable and volatile and soluble in water, is normally seen on the landfills. When the gas produced by such substances is diffused in water and inhaled by the person, it might cause cancer and malfunctioning of the health condition of a person (Alley 453). Thus, this gas should be tried and tested from the groundwater before the water is use by people. If it is present there, it should be reduced up to a level that can be consumed by the human beings. The other very dangerous contaminant is the chlorine, substance that is found in the water and which generates from the garbage.

The methylene chloride that is emitted by the garbage in the landfills is very carcinogenic and can lead to death if it gets in the bodies of human beings. This is the reason for the testing of groundwater for chlorine before it is used by human beings because the water can be a source of a series of deaths through the content of such poisonous substance in it (Alley 123). Some contaminants are very dangerous when it comes to the use of water by the human beings; therefore, such contaminants as methyl tertiary butyl ether remains to be one of the main groundwater contaminants and a product of significant importance in production of gasoline which is used as antiknock in the cars engines.

A Leachate is any liquid type of solvent that goes through any matter extracting solutes and other types of substances in the material that it passes through (Bagchi 532). Therefore, Leachate is the other contaminant that can be found in the groundwater. Therefore, this process leads to groundwater contamination through the permeable membranes of the aquifer in the ground soils (Thomton 867). It makes it easier for the transportation of the major components that are very dangerous and toxic to penetrate to the groundwater. Therefore, the process of Leachate formation leads to a major and vital factor in the production of toxicity in the groundwater.

Effects of Groundwater Contamination

There are major effects associated with contamination of groundwater. If the underground water is contaminated, there will be reduced water supplies from the ground leading to insufficiency of water for drinking and production. This will lead to the spread of diseases caused by pathogens (Thomton 642). Therefore, the significant expenses will be spent on water purification. The groundwater cannot be taken when it is not appropriate for human consumption because it can lead to death or other serious diseases.

Therefore, water should go through several chemical processes until it comes to the level which is safe for human consumption and use for their daily chores (Herman 980). It will also require for the groundwater users to look for other water supplies that are good for use and consumption as water is very important in the lives of all human beings and its shortage may bring negative outcomes. Therefore, if the groundwater is contaminated, the members of the public have to search for alternatives in order to get clean water for consumption and use at home. In relation to the health matters, the use of contaminated water leads to prevalence of viruses and bacteria that cause diseases leading to major illnesses in the human body and are very dangerous.

Chemicals that are in the groundwater are poisonous in the way that they harbor the functioning of the body systems leading to diseases that can even lead to death. Therefore, landfills are very dangerous and may damage not only health of the human beings, but also soil and infrastructure. Consequently, the local authorities have to take into consideration the types of garbage that are thrown into the landfills because they might cause various calamities in the world (Herman 234). Talking about radioactive wastes, there should be mechanisms how to dispose radioactive wastes because they can lead to explosions and be the cause of various types of diseases such as cancer or even lead to death.


The disposal of different types of waste that are dumped to the landfills must be regulated in order to ensure that the hazardous waste that is thrown in the landfills will not contaminate groundwater and, therefore, improve to the quality of the groundwater. Fewer costs will be spent on the search for other alternatives water sources leading to more healthy lives within the world. This will even reduce the green effect in the world that is the outcome of evaporation of gases that are emitted in the landfills and remain one of the major factors of global warmth. Therefore before consumption of the groundwater, it should be examined and approved by various experts that it is good for consumption. Landfills in every place must be installed with liners which will prevent the Leachate from reaching the groundwater so as to reduce the adverse effects associated with the landfills.