Abstract Leachates from different areas of a modern hazardous-waste landfill were investigated. In addition, samples of the waste to be buried were taken, and leachability tests in accordance with German standards were performed. The composition of the leachates from the landfill and the leachates produced by the leachability tests varied over a wide range, depending on the kind and volume of hazardous waste buried and the weather conditions. High concentrations of some anions were often found in combination with low concentrations of other anions. In the leachates the following concentration ranges were found: Cl −, 30–6000 mg/l; NO 2 −, 0–150 mg/l; NO 2 −, 0–150 mg/l; SO 2 2−, 100–6000 mg/l. Therefore, several dilutions of one sample often had to be measured. The complex matrix often also requires several sample preparation steps for the elimination of interfering effects. Experience to date has shown that ion chromatography in this application field is efficient.