Hydrogen sulfide generation in simulated construction and demolition debris landfills: impact of waste composition

J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2006 Aug;56(8):1130-8. doi: 10.1080/10473289.2006.10464544.


Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) generation in construction and demolition (C&D) debris landfills has been associated with the biodegradation of gypsum drywall. Laboratory research was conducted to observe H2S generation when drywall was codisposed with different C&D debris constituents. Two experiments were conducted using simulated landfill columns. Experiment 1 consisted of various combinations of drywall, wood, and concrete to determine the impact of different waste constituents and combinations on H2S generation. Experiment 2 was designed to examine the effect of concrete on H2S generation and migration. The results indicate that decaying drywall, even alone, leached enough sulfate ions and organic matter for sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) to generate large H2S concentrations as high as 63,000 ppmv. The codisposed wastes show some effect on H2S generation. At the end of experiment 1, the wood/drywall and drywall alone columns possessed H2S concentrations > 40,000 ppmv. Conversely, H2S concentrations were < 1 ppmv in those columns containing concrete. Concrete plays a role in decreasing H2S by increasing pH out of the range for SRB growth and by reacting with H2S. This study also showed that wood lowered H2S concentrations initially by decreasing leachate pH values. Based on the results, two possible control mechanisms to mitigate H2S generation in C&D debris landfills are suggested.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / analysis*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Construction Materials*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / analysis*
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / chemistry
  • Industrial Waste*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Refuse Disposal*


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Industrial Waste
  • Hydrogen Sulfide