Field investigation of temporal variation of volatile organic compounds at a landfill in Hangzhou, China

Qiao Wang, Xinru Zuo, Min Xia, Haijian Xie, Feiyu He, Siliang Shen, Abdelmalek Bouazza, Lili Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Variation of volatile organic compound (VOC) concentration and composition in an active landfill were monitored by a developed static chamber for 2 years. The landfill gas from 82 sampling points including 70 points on working face, 8 points on geomembrane (GMB), and 4 points on final cover were analyzed for VOCs by GC-MS. Twenty-eight types of VOCs were detected, including terpenes, sulfur compounds, aromatics, hydrocarbon, oxygenated compounds, aldehyde compounds, and halogenated compounds. Terpenes were the dominant VOCs recorded in the spring, autumn, and winter seasons, whereas sulfur compounds dominated in the summer season. Limonene, ethyl alcohol, and acetone were identified as the main VOCs emitted from the waste working face of the landfill. Limonene dominated the terpenes with a maximum concentration of 43.29 μg m −3 in the autumn season. Limonene was also the dominant VOC escaping from the defects of geomembrane temporary cover reaching an average concentration 38 μg m−3 . The defects of geomembranes can be a great emission source of VOCs. Emission rate of limonene was 2.24 times higher than that on the working face. VOC concentrations on the final cover can be 166 times less than those obtained on the working face. VOC emitted from the landfill did not represent a health threat for human health. However, concentrations of methyl mercaptan and ethanethiol on the working face were 3.4–22.8 times greater than their odor threshold, which were the main compounds responsible for odor nuisance. Results obtained from CALPUFF model indicated that methyl mercaptan and ethanethiol would not be a nuisance for the residents around the landfill. However, these compounds are harmful to the workers on the landfill.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18162–18180
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • Air pollution
  • Cover system
  • Geomembrane
  • Landfill gas
  • Limonene
  • Odor
  • Volatile organic compounds

Cite this