All That Landfill, And So Little Landfill Gas

A landfill compactor (above) shreds and crushes municipal waste before it is buried

POTTSTOWN PA – The now-closed corporate landfill that straddles portions of West Pottsgrove and Douglass townships, on the border between Montgomery and Berks counties, has run out of gas.

Landfill owner Waste Management Disposal Services of PA Inc. recently notified the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection that flows of landfill gas, the fumes produced by decaying waste buried beneath layers of soil and protective sheeting on the acreage at 1425 Sell Rd., “have declined significantly following landfill closure in 2005.”

In fact, Waste Management reported, there’s no longer enough gas to drive one of the power-generating turbines it installed years ago to take advantage of the naturally created fuel and lower its energy costs. The flows can “no longer support continued turbine operation,” the company added.

In a legal notice published Monday (Oct. 19, 2015), it is asking to remove the generator and lift the department conditions that regulated it.

If Waste Management’s proposal is approved and the turbine is “decommissioned,” the company confidently predicts there will be “no increase in potential or actual emissions” from what little collected landfill gas remains. Two existing flares, and a third to be installed, “have more than sufficient capacity to handle all the gas,” it claimed.

Waste Management’s plan represents “a minor permit modification to Operating Permit No. 46-000033 for the Pottstown Landfill,” according to the department.

The department is giving members of the public 21 days to comment on the plan. Comments must be written; contain the commenter’s name, address, telephone number, and a “concise statement regarding the relevancy of the information or objections to the proposed modifications;” and mailed to the department’s Southeast Regional Office, 2 E. Main St., Norristown PA 19401.

Photo from Google Images