As organic matter decomposes in landfills, it creates various types of gases, which can be methanogenic or non-methanogenic. While methanogenic gases pose more safety hazards, their non-methanogenic counterparts create a bothersome odor. To prevent this odor from leaving the site of origin and getting into surrounding buildings, the level of landfill gases should be monitored at all times. Here are seven tips on how to manage them.
1. Measuring Non-Methanogenic Organic Compound Levels on Landfills
Because of their negative effect on the environment and quality of human life, the levels of non-methanogenic compounds should be monitored. This can be done easily by installing probes at the perimeter of the property. These are connected to an electronic monitoring system – and as soon as the levels rise to a certain predetermined point, the system will issue a warning.
2. Addressing Landfill Gas Concerns on Site
Non-methanogenic compounds can cause health problems, especially for people suffering from respiratory issues. They can also destroy the vegetation around them, causing further damage to the environment. Because of this, it’s crucial to contain these gases as much as possible at their site of origin. Covering the landfill with non-permeable materials is an excellent practice for these purposes.
3. Monitoring Conditions That Affect Gas Generation
Many factors can cause the accelerated production of these compounds. For example, waste with high moisture levels will always produce more gaseous byproducts than dry waste. The mechanical compaction and shredding of the waste help reduce the chances of gas production.
4. Landfill Gas Collection
Passive or mechanical vents can help remove these compounds through the cover of the landfill. On newer sites, waste management companies often utilize a clever landfill gas collection system design that allows the gas to be directed to other places. These systems usually have vertical wells that extract the compounds and horizontal trenches for transporting them to be utilized or destroyed at the appropriate facility.
5. Destruction of Organic Compounds
More often than not, as the compounds leave the landfill, they will be destroyed by burning off. This is done either in a utility flare that’s more efficient in gas combustion or in an enclosed flare – which can be monitored for efficiency. These are becoming more and more popular since they allow more control for the operator.
6. Landfill Gas Utilization Methods
Compounds with lower BTU values can be used directly as a source of fuel, replacing natural gas. It’s an excellent option for heating industrial facilities and greenhouses. Others can serve for generating electricity or producing ethanol. Processing them to CNG is also a viable option as it helps solve the issues of fueling large fleets.
7. Reducing Landfill Gas in Homes
Homeowners can minimize the chances of these compounds entering their buildings by eliminating any gaps in the outside construction and the basement. Installing a depressurization system to direct the vapor away can also be a solution.
As you can see, the local waste management companies can reduce landfill gas levels in various ways, improving the air quality and preserving the environment. However, their primary concern is to reduce the highly toxic and odorless methanogenic gases. For this reason, it’s important for homeowners to know how they can prevent the gases from entering their homes.
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