The landfill has been in operation at its existing location since 1991. Today, the landfill covers more than 100 acres and is 145 feet high. The landfill design is a sophisticated containment structure that is engineered with multiple layers and systems to prevent the possibility of groundwater contamination. The landfill is a municipal solid waste facility. It accepts household and non-hazardous commercial and industrial waste.
It also contains a large amount of organic materials, such as food. These organic materials produce a great deal of gas, which can lead to odors. The gases are formed in a landfill when wastes decompose. Sulfides and ammonia are the most common sources of odor in landfill gas. The sulfides are what produce what many detect as a “rotten-egg” smell. Ammonia products emit a strong odor that is similar to those from household cleaning products. While the odors from these gases may be unpleasant and may cause some temporary discomfort, it is highly unlikely that they will lead to any long term or serious health effects. ACUA strives to resolve odor issues as quickly as possible in order to prevent discomfort to members of the community.
ACUA is committed to keeping landfill odors to a minimum and has many systems and procedures in place to regulate the gases emitted from the landfill.
How We Control Landfill Odors
The most significant method of landfill odor control is the Landfill Gas to Energy (LFGE) plant. Methane gas produced from decomposing organic materials in the landfill is collected under vacuum, which controls odors and prevents the methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from entering the atmosphere. The collected gas is then used to make energy that powers ACUA's Environmental Park with any excess being sent to the grid. The landfill gas to energy project is operated by AC Landfill Energy, a joint venture of DCO Energy and South Jersey Industries.
Excess gas that is not converted into electricity is collected and safely destroyed in a high temperature flare. These flares are used in tandem with the LFGE in order to control odorous gases.
An example of Surface Emission Monitoring (SEM), which monitors gas emissions from the landfill for compliance.
New Landfill Gas Flare
A new enclosed flare was installed at the landfill in January 2017. The new flare is 40 x 12 ft. and cost approximately $440,000. The flare will burn excess landfill gas (which is burned to convert methane into carbon dioxide, a less harmful greenhouse gas) at a higher efficiency than the old flare.
Temporary Cap Project
ACUA installed a temporary cap over 30 acres of the landfill’s side slopes. This temporary cap will prevent gas from escaping the sides of the landfill and direct it towards the existing gas collection systems. It will also keep water from infiltrating the landfill, which will reduce the overall production of gas as well as prevent the accumulation of leachate along the side slopes – all actions that will decrease odors. The project cost approximately $2 million.
Status: This project was completed in September 2015.
Click here to read more about this project.
ACUA staff and third party consultants continually monitor conditions at the landfill in order to meet and when possible, exceed state and federal environmental requirements. Some of these monitoring tasks include:
• Inspecting the landfill cover daily
• Inspecting and monitoring surface emissions quarterly
• Reviewing the efficiency and function of gas and leachate collection systems
• Continually monitoring and analyzing weather data and conditions that impact gas production
• Independently monitoring onsite and offsite odors to identify odor sources
Leachate Swale Maintenance
ACUA performs routine leachate swale maintenance to ensure leachate (a.k.a. water contaminated by trash) is properly captured.
Vertical Gas Wells Maintenance
ACUA hired an outside contractor to perform video inspection, dewatering and maintenance of Vertical Gas Wells.
New Gas Collection Wells
ACUA has installed several new gas collection wells over the last few years to increase gas collection efficiency and reduce odorous gases from escaping the landfill.
We take landfill odors very seriously and encourage anyone to reach out to us with any concern they might have.