Date of Award

Winter 2020

Project Type


Program or Major

Civil Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Weiwei Mo

Second Advisor

Paula Mouser

Third Advisor

Robin M Collins


Landfill leachate is commonly treated offsite with municipal wastewater. This offsite leachate treatment may be limited or no longer applicable due to the increasingly stringent regulations and concerns related to PFAS discharge into the environment, resulting in development of full-scale, onsite leachate treatment facilities. To help landfills prepare for the potential shift from offsite to onsite leachate treatment for PFAS compliance, this study analyzed and compared the environmental, human health, and economic performances of a typical onsite and a typical offsite leachate treatment alternative using life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle cost assessment (LCCA). Two distinct functional units were investigated: 1 m3 of leachate treated and 1 g of PFAS removed. Using a landfill site located in Zhuzhou, China as a testbed, we tested two hypotheses: 1) environmental, human health, and economic tradeoffs exist between onsite and offsite treatment scenarios; 2) the tradeoffs change when different functional units are used. Our results show that the onsite scenario offers benefits from human health and economic perspectives, while the offsite scenario performs general better environmental outcomes. The extent of this tradeoff varies when different functional units were adopted and varies depending on PFAS concentrations in raw leachate.