A Landfill Gas Success Story – Reducing by Capturing

The Clean Air Partnership’s blog about Halton Region’s landfill gas collection system tells the story of how early-adopters can make environmental improvements even before it becomes mandatory.

The landfill site in Halton, located in Milton, Ontario, is the only operating landfill in the region accepting municipal solid waste. When “Bag 1” was placed upon the state-of-the-art landfill liner system during the opening in 1992, the landfill was intended to provide 20-years of disposal life. Much has changed since then: the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) have gained continued momentum, and as a result, Halton now projects its landfill will last at least to the year 2040.

All municipal solid waste landfills generate greenhouse gases (GHGs) and so as of 2010, gas collection systems are now mandatory for landfills over a certain size in Ontario.

Before that was even mandated by the Province of Ontario, Halton Region went ahead in 2006 and voluntarily put in a landfill gas collection system at the Milton landfill that could keep a constant vacuum pressure on the buried waste to funnel the methane-rich gases to a single location for processing or use.

Looking upward from within Halton Region’s enclosed landfill gas flare in Milton, Ontario.

Initially, the collected gases were flared off to destroy them, turning them mostly into carbon dioxide (CO2). This action reduced the captured methane’s global warming potential by 21 times in terms of GHG effects. That is a big improvement, but the combustion energy was lost forever.

So a partnership emerged with Oakville Hydro Energy Services Incorporated (a local utility within Halton Region) that would see that energy used for even greater good: making green power and sending it into the local electrical grid. That complementary gas utilization facility was put in place by mid-2007 and — so far so good.

LFG PartnershipWe continue to reduce our landfill’s environmental impact by capturing pollution in its tracks — right inside the landfill itself, and we have made a positive statement about Halton Region’s environmental leadership in adopting GHG reduction plans before they were truly mandatory.

It’s working well in our landfill and we’re not done yet!  As long as people continue to create waste that needs to be landfilled, we will be capturing landfill gas and installing additional infrastructure in phases to match site growth.

About Walter Scattolon

Hi! I'm Walter and I've been Halton Region's Landfill Technologist since 2004. Keeping tabs on Halton's only open municipal landfill is a big part of my job and so is managing the Landfill Gas Collection system on site. How much space do we have left for waste? What about the greenhouse gases? When should we build the next cell in the landfill? - These are all questions I find the answers to, year after year.
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1 Response to A Landfill Gas Success Story – Reducing by Capturing

  1. Pingback: From raindrops to 100-year floods – Halton Waste Management Site’s water management is by design | HaltonRecycles

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