Abstract

The concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO) and other gases were measured in the emissions from solid waste degradation under aerobic and anaerobic conditions during laboratory and field investigations. The emissions were measured as room temperature headspace gas concentrations in reactors of 1, 30, and 150 L, as well as sucked gas concentrations from windrow composting piles and a biocell, under field conditions. The aerobic composting laboratory experiments consisted of treatments with and without lime. The CO concentrations measured during anaerobic conditions varied from 0 to 3000 ppm, the average being 23 ppm, increasing to 133 ppm when methane (CH4) concentrations were low. The mean/maximum CO concentrations during the aerobic degradation in the 2-L reactor were 101/194 ppm without lime, 486/2022 ppm with lime, and 275/980 ppm in the 150-L reactors. The presence of CO during the aerobic composting followed a rapid decline in O2 concentrations Significantly higher CO concentrations were obtained when the aerobic degradation was amended with lime, probably because of a more extreme depletion of oxygen. The mean/maximum CO concentrations under field conditions during aerobic composting were 95/1000 ppm. The CO concentrations from the anaerobic biocell varied from 20 to 160 ppm. The hydrogen sulfide concentrations reached almost 1200 ppm during the anaerobic degradation and 67 ppm during the composting experiments. There is a positive correlation between the CO and hydrogen sulfide concentrations measured during the anaerobic degradation experiments.