Composted nitrogenous waste has the potential to produce excessive amounts of nitrous oxide (N2O), a potent greenhouse gas that also contributes to stratospheric ozone depletion. In this laboratory study, sawdust was irrigated with varying amounts of landfill leachate with high NH4+-N content (3950 mgl-1). Physicochemical properties, including the amount of N2O produced, were monitored during the composting process over 28 days. A rapid decline in NH4+-N in the first 4 days and increasing NO3--N for 11 days was followed by lower but stabilized levels of available-N, even with repeated leachate irrigation. Less than 0.03% of the leachate-applied N was lost as N2O. Higher leachate applications as much as tripled N2O production, but this represented a lesser proportion overall of the total nitrogen. Addition of glucose to the composting process had no significant effect on N2O production. The derived sawdustleachate compost supported healthy growth of Sesbania rostrata. It is concluded that compost can be produced from sawdust irrigated with landfill leachate without substantial emission of N2O, although excessive flux of N2O remains about high application rates over longer time periods.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry