Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 3368–3381 | Cite as

Leachate generation rate modeling using artificial intelligence algorithms aided by input optimization method for an MSW landfill

  • Taher Abunama
  • Faridah OthmanEmail author
  • Mozafar Ansari
  • Ahmed El-Shafie
Research Article


Leachate is one of the main surface water pollution sources in Selangor State (SS), Malaysia. The prediction of leachate amounts is elementary in sustainable waste management and leachate treatment processes, before discharging to surrounding environment. In developing countries, the accurate evaluation of leachate generation rates has often considered a challenge due to the lack of reliable data and high measurement costs. Leachate generation is related to several factors, including meteorological data, waste generation rates, and landfill design conditions. The high variations in these factors lead to complicating leachate modeling processes. This study aims at identifying the key elements contributing to leachate production and developing various AI-based models to predict leachate generation rates. These models included Artificial Neural Network (ANN)-Multi-linear perceptron (MLP) with single and double hidden layers, and support vector machine (SVM) regression time series algorithms. Various performance measures were applied to evaluate the developed model’s accuracy. In this study, input optimization process showed that three inputs were acceptable for modeling the leachate generation rates, namely dumped waste quantity, rainfall level, and emanated gases. The initial performance analysis showed that ANN-MLP2 model—which applies two hidden layers—achieved the best performance, then followed by ANN-MLP1 model—which applies one hidden layer and three inputs—while SVM model gave the lowest performance. Ranges and frequency of relative error (RE%) also demonstrate that ANN-MLP models outperformed SVM models. Furthermore, low and peak flow criterion (LFC and PFC) assessment of leachate inflow values in ANN-MLP model with two hidden layers made more accurate values than other models. Since minimizing data collection and processing efforts as well as minimizing modeling complexity are critical in the hydrological modeling process, the applied input optimization process and the developed models in this study were able to provide a good performance in the modeling of leachate generation efficiently.


Landfill leachate Input optimization Artificial neural network-multilayers perceptron (ANN-MLP) Regression support vector machine (R-SVM) 



We would also like to thank the UM Water Research Center for the support rendered. We are most grateful and would like to thank the reviewers for their valuable suggestions, which have led to substantial improvements to the article.

Funding information

This study was financially supported by the University of Malaya Research Grant (FL001-13SUS, RP017C-15SUS) and the Ministry of Higher Education Fundamental Research Grant (FP016-2014A).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Civil Engineering DepartmentUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia

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