Michigan landfill receives permit to install temporary flare

The flare will be used to reduce odors at Advanced Disposal System’s landfill.

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February 17, 2017
Waste Today Staff
Landfills Legislation and regulations Municipal Solid Waste

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has issued a permit for a new temporary flare to reduce odors at Advanced Disposal Systems’ Arbor Hills Landfill in Salem Township, Michigan. As a result, the MDEQ is advising residents to expect to see increased activity at the facility, which will include the installation of a 42-foot tall flare on the northern side of the landfill.

“Residents should expect to see a flame when the equipment is operating,” says Scott Miller, MDEQ district supervisor. “While improvements to the gas system continue to be made, further improvements are needed. Until this work is completed, the community may continue to experience landfill gas odor.”

The MDEQ issued the temporary permit to enable increased extraction of landfill gas to improve gas collection and reduce odors. The temporary flare will operate for less than 12 months and will provide relief from the odors, while allowing time for Advanced Disposal Systems to develop a permanent solution. The MDEQ review of the company’s permanent solution will include public involvement.

The decision to approve the flare permit comes after the MDEQ started receiving complaints from residents living near the landfill in January 2016. After discussions with Advanced Disposal, the agency determined the odors were being caused by fugitive emissions of landfill gas. The U.S. EPA also took part in the investigations.

Fugitive emissions of landfill gas were found to be the source of the odors. Arbor Hills Landfill took immediate and aggressive action to correct these issues.

The EPA issued Clean Air Act violations to the landfill for failures in the gas collection and control system. The efforts led to a significant reduction of MDEQ-verified off-site odors and a precipitous drop in odor complaints.

However, toward the end of last year the number of odor complaints increased.

Landfill activities to address odors and potential odor sources under the MDEQ’s supervision include:

  • Placement of a temporary cover on a section of the landfill
  • Accelerated construction and replacement of landfill gas wells at the landfill
  • Placement of daily and intermediate cover over the landfill
  • Enhancement of air quality and odor monitoring at the landfill and offsite odor monitoring in surrounding neighborhoods
  • Most recently, based on MDEQ onsite observations, the landfill has agreed to stop accepting an industrial waste believed to be a likely source of odors last year.
  • A third-party firm reporting directly to MDEQ has been hired to conduct comprehensive, daily odor surveys around the landfill and throughout the surrounding community. The firm also will be evaluating the source of odors at the landfill.
  • The landfill will conduct increased surface methane monitoring across the face of the landfill to identify and address potential fugitive landfill gas emissions.