Landfill Operations and Odor Control

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The landfill at the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) has been in operation at its existing location since 1991. Today, it 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 contact with groundwater. The landfill accepts municipal solid waste and non-hazardous commercial and industrial waste.  

Where Odors Come From

Organic material like food waste produces a great deal of gas as it decomposes, which can lead to odors. Sulfides and ammonia are the most common sources of odor in landfill gas.

Odors from these gases may be unpleasant and cause some temporary discomfort, but it is highly unlikely they will lead to any long-term or serious health effects.

ACUA strives to resolve odor issues as quickly as possible to prevent discomfort to members of the community. The Authority 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

Landfill Gas to Energy Plant

ACUA’s most significant method of landfill odor control is its 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 and any excess is sent to the power grid. Click here to learn more about this project.

Hydrogen Sulfide Treatment System

The treatment system removes sulfur from landfill gas to reduce odors. This was installed in 2017.

Landfill Gas Flare

Excess gas that is not converted into electricity is collected and safely destroyed in this high temperature flare. These flares are used in tandem with the LFGE to control odorous gases.

A new enclosed flare was installed at the landfill in January 2017 and cost approximately $440,000.


 Old vs New Flare Installed in 2017

Temporary Landfill Cap

ACUA installed a temporary cap over 30 acres of the landfill’s side slopes in September 2015. The cap prevents gas from escaping the sides of the landfill and directs it toward the existing gas collection systems. It also keeps water from infiltrating the landfill, which reduces the production of gas and prevents the formation of leachate – all actions that will decrease odors. The project cost approximately $2 million. Click here to read more about this project.


Temporary Cap Prevents Rain from Infiltrating Landfill 


ACUA staff and third-party consultants continually monitor conditions at the landfill 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.

Gas Collection Wells Additions  

ACUA installs new gas collection wells as needed to increase gas collection efficiency and reduce odorous gases from escaping the landfill.   

Vertical Gas Wells Maintenance

ACUA hires an outside contractor to perform video inspection, dewatering and maintenance of Vertical Gas Wells.

Contact Us   

We take landfill odors very seriously and encourage anyone to reach out to us with any concern they might have.


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